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Snap up north of the Umgeni

Posted On Sunday, 22 December 2002 10:01 Published by
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Business has been brisk this year for one of the country's biggest estate agencies

Maxprop Countrywide enjoyed a good run this year, with residential sales continuing their growth trend, and the commercial division performing consistently well, says Mr Gordon Battersby managing director of the company.

'We're thrilled to have been able to expand our agency network, opening offices in Pretoria, Pietermaritzburg and on the Bluff, and so increasing our market share. In existing agencies we have also added to our staff complement in order to meet the demands of a property-hungry public.

'In 2002, we saw a significant increase in previously disadvantaged purchasers and a rise in buyer confidence, which can be attributed, in part, to the banks being more willing to provide bonds.'

He says the most obvious growth point this year was north of the Umgeni. Although the 4% interest rate hike this year meant that bondholders had to dig deeper into their pockets as banks put the screws on. Franchisee for Maxprop Countrywide in Durban North, Umhlanga, and Umdloti, Mr William Campbell, says the residential property market north of the city hasn't missed a step in the past few years.

'Home owners seem to have absorbed the increases and are still buying along the North Coast. There are new developments springing up everywhere which are quickly snapped up.'

He says while the residential sector is in the throes of a national boom, beachfront properties are always a good property investment as they offer good letting returns, it's interesting to note that even commercial and industrial properties are selling well here.

'Sales north of the Umgeni are buoyant. It appears that massive investment is attracting even more money to the area, and the Umhlanga Ridge in particular, is positively buzzing with potential investors,' says Mr Pat Witherow of Maxprop's Commercial and Industrial Division. Despite enormous growth here, lack of stock in many areas, notably Phoenix, the Bluff and Pietermaritzburg, has proven an obstacle to keen buyers.

'Where development opportunities came up, for instance, Mulberry Park in Queensburgh, Lourie Gardens at Scottburgh, Seaward Villas and recently, a Moreland development on the North Coast, we managed to secure a good number of sales,' says Battersby.

He says this year new agents entered the market in droves, but Maxprop's tried and trusted agents have held their own. 'The company prides itself on being upfront and on providing clients with an unsurpassed service; first-time buyers, especially, have benefited from this attention to detail.'

He says when advising potential sellers, they've pinpointed features which might help them to sell, and steps to take to ensure a speedy transaction. 'The most glaring trend we've noticed is that purchasers are looking to buy secure homes, with fencing and burglar guards.'

Publisher: Sunday Tribune
Source: IOL
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