‘New North’ Delivers Opportunity for Investors

‘New North’ Delivers Opportunity for Investors

BY CHARMAINE MURRAY

With commercial, residential and mixed-use property in demand with unprecedented investment and development underway, the broader Fourways area continues to create value and deliver opportunity for investors across sectors as it offers a fresh alternative to Gauteng’s older, more crowded nodes.

According to Dirk Prinsloo, director at property research company Urban Studies, the Fourways node is experiencing strong development growth dominated by the extension of Fourways Mall to the status of a super-regional mall, which, along with other developments in the area will see it become one of the most dominant retail markets in South Africa.

“The 178,000m2 Fourways Mall (the largest in Sub- Saharan Africa) will act as a catalyst for additional urban growth,” Prinsloo explains. “This is further underpinned by infrastructure development linked to road access and public transport, with much infrastructure development being funded by investors such as Accelerate Property Fund and Steyn City Properties.”

Accelerate Property Fund and its developers funded the R300 million widening of Witkoppen Road, as well as the new flyovers from this road into Fourways Mall, and an additional flyover from William Nicol into expanded parkades, while Steyn City’s investment into infrastructure includes upgrades to the R511, William Nicol and Cedar roads, as well as sewage and water reticulation in excess of R1b billion.

“Once completed, Fourways Mall will be the ultimate shoppertainment family destination, with several exciting venues already opened as construction on the broader centre approaches completion,” says Andrew Costa, COO of Accelerate Property Fund.

“Our focus over the last several years has been on developing Fourways into a business and lifestyle node like no other. It is an area full of potential, with new nearby residential developments bringing new residents to an area already so popular for its diverse residential and retail offerings,” he adds.

Despite a broadly slow residential property market, Property24 research shows that Fourways house prices continue to increase after a slight dip in 2016 and 2017, with the average sale price being R2.255m, and the average apartment selling for R1.5m. The area is significantly more popular among home owners aged 36 to 49 with more than 46% of recent buyers in this age bracket, with only 4.1% of buyers in the area being older than 65.

Sandra McKenzie, Adrienne Hersch Properties’ Olivedale Branch Head, reinforces that the area is quickly becoming an entertainment, retail, commercial and residential hub that rivals the likes of Sandton, Rosebank and Menlyn.

“Demand remains robust in the area, despite a constrained economic climate, and we anticipate property prices to climb slowly as demand from buyers and investors continues to rise against the backdrop of substantial development and investment in the area,” she says.

“The extended Fourways Mall will act as a catalyst for office development too,” Prinsloo explains. “This will include the redevelopment of office blocks older than 25 years, and we expect the Fourways office node to double in size over the next five to ten years.”

Tony Koupis, Fourways Mall’s developer comments, “Fourways Mall is in the fortunate position that most of its market is made up of young families, usually with two income earners, often in their mid-30s to early 40s, with young children and most likely staff as well. This is probably the best position that a developer can be in – it gives us a growing market, where most households earn more than R50,000 per month.

“These shoppers, together with the younger generation of salary earners and the lower LSM commuter market, make up a broad spectrum of consumers who will shop across categories, brands and value levels.” Koupis adds.

Steyn City is key among the new developments underway, with its offerings of apartments, clusters or freehold homes located in beautifully landscaped, secure parklands offering all homeowners a massive garden to explore.

“Steyn City is strategically placed between the key areas of Pretoria and Johannesburg, and is no longer positioned on the urban edge, offering easy access to the N14 via Centurion to Pretoria, and the R511 directly to the Sandton and Joburg CBDs,” says Giuseppe Plumari, CEO of Steyn City Properties.

“We believe that momentum is set to grow, with the complete overhaul and expansion of Fourways Mall adding to the area’s attraction, as well as long term planning for Gautrain routes linking Fourways and Lanseria to the rest of the its network,” says Plumari. “It also makes sense for businesses to expand north, given that the current key nodes are reaching saturation.”

The anticipated expansion of Lanseria Airport, which aims to double its passenger numbers to four million in the next six years is likely to add impetus to the area’s popularity among businesses whose executives will seek the convenience and easy accessibility of this privately owned airport. While it only services flights to domestic destinations at present, growth plans include routes to destinations within SADC and further afield in sub-Saharan Africa, with talks already underway with Namibian, Mauritian and Botswanan airlines.

In a similar vein, hospitality in the area is also seeing investment in development, with the evergreen Indaba Hotel, Spa and Conference Centre just one example of a property undergoing refurbishment in anticipation of increased demand.

Prinsloo explains that while high end growth in the area will be mainly in the likes of Steyn City, growth in volume will predominantly occur in the Riversands, Diepsloot and Chartwell areas, where more than 40,000 household units of varying sizes will be built in the next 20 years. In the next five years alone, more than 12,000 households will be added to the broader Fourways Node.

“Key to the success of the growing Fourways node is ensuring that transport corridors are well developed, and that infrastructure is built or upgraded to keep pace with demand,” says Prinsloo. “Convenience will be the biggest driving factor in retail, making it essential for smaller strip or suburban malls to be built or expanded to complement the destination-shopping outlets such as Fourways Mall, once it’s complete.”

“The Sandton CBD is now what the once thriving Joburg CBD used to be. We anticipate that the Fourways Precinct could one day compete with Sandton’s 1,6 million square metres of office space, as commercial developments in Fourways – along with Steyn City’s new commercial park – become a strong draw card for investors and businesses seeking different lifestyles to those offered in conventional Johannesburg and Pretoria hubs,” adds Plumari.

“Fourways is undoubtedly a business and lifestyle node that offers remarkable potential,” says Costa. “It is an area full of potential, with a growing number of high-income residences in proximity to future and current transport hubs, as well as older properties being ready for upgrade or demolition to make way for higher density residential projects. The area has demonstrated solid returns for investors in all sectors, and we’re confident that it will continue to do so in spite of challenges in the broader economy.”

SOURCE: Accelerate Property Fund, Steyn City, Urban Studies

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