Pretoria has been experiencing something of a ‘purple patch’ in residential real estate, with data showing a healthy growth in property sales and prices over the last decade. Competitive pricing, a wide selection of property types and the city’s sound infrastructure have been an attractive drawcard for buyers. But what does the future hold?

South Africa’s administrative capital is perhaps best known for the colourful theatre that takes place along many of its streets and in parks and gardens from September each year when the city’s 70,000 jacarandas burst into bloom. Perhaps less well known is that Pretoria is the most affordable capital city to live in in the world. US financial services firm NetCredit analysed over 800,000 property listings in 73 capital cities and calculated the median house price for each. It then calculated each city’s average monthly net salary for affordability, and Pretoria came out tops.

A mini boom

Pretoria has been one of the better-performing metros in Gauteng, with prices growing by 91% between 2010 and 2022 compared to 71% for Johannesburg, reveals StatsSA’s House Price Index. Waterkloof in East Pretoria has reportedly overtaken Sandton as Gauteng’s most prestigious and expensive area. According to Lightstone data, Pretoria achieved 29,828 transfers worth more than R38.7 billion during the 2022 year, with the average selling price being R1.2 million. About 75% of all transactions were below R1.5 million, with prices of R3 million and above accounting for just under 6% of the market.

For first-time home buyers, Greater Pretoria was the top-performing region for 2021/22. BetterBond’s first quarterly report for 2023 examines where average home prices have increased the most. And, for the 12 months ending March 2023, Greater Pretoria came joint second for all buyers and third for first-time buyers. Comparing the percentage change in average home prices for all buyers ending March 2022, Greater Pretoria outperformed the rest of the country with an increase of 13% in average home prices.

A buyers’ market tilt

The numbers speak to Pretoria’s popularity and affordability, but there has been a discernible shift in gear this year. The rise in interest rates, increased cost of living and a weakening economy have affected house price growth, put strain on homeowners’ ability to pay back bonds, and affected potential buyers who must contend with higher loan rates.

While the market might be stuck in “low gear”, Seeff Pretoria East’s Gerhard van der Linde believes property remains a solid and stable investment that outperforms numerous asset classes. For those expecting an upswing in the future, properties in Pretoria are still good value for money. It’s just a matter of recognising opportunities. With the market shifting in favour of buyers, more varied residences are being put on the market, allowing buyers greater choice. With safety being a key director of trends, buyers prefer sectional title homes and homes in security estates, which also seems to be a better long-term investment.

Pretoria East

Chris Yeomans of Fine&Country identifies Pretoria East as offering the safety and security that home buyers seek, especially those with young families or retirees. Pretoria East has itself become a destination for semigrants for this reason. But in addition to safety, the area is home to thriving business districts and industrial parks, educational facilities (from preschool to tertiary), has been well maintained, and offers many desirable lifestyle options. It also has a slower, more relaxed feel than larger urban centres. “With a mix of residential, commercial and natural spaces, Pretoria East provides a balanced and enjoyable living environment for its residents,” he says.

Silvana Dos Reis Marques, Principal at Leapfrog Pretoria East shares that R15 500 000 will buy a home at the top end in Southdowns Estate in Irene, R7 million will secure a home full title in Waterkloof Heights, R 5 million will buy a property in a boomed area in Lynnwood Glen.  On the other end of the scale a full title in Garsfontein will cost R2 million, a simplex in Equestria is around R1 million, and a refurnished duplex in Sunny Side is around R600 000.

The economic hubs and vibrant city life in cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg mean demand for property is high, which drives prices up. “Pretoria has a more balanced demand and supply dynamic,” Chris explains. “It also has a smaller population and fewer people seeking accommodation… The city’s government offices and civil servants create a stable housing demand. Still, it may not drive property prices as high as Johannesburg or Cape Town, where the private sector and international companies play a more significant role,” he adds.

Whether buyers are looking for an apartment, a spacious family home, a residence on an estate or a gated community, Pretoria offers a variety of residential choices. The value lies in the property and the myriad lifestyle experiences and convenient amenities the city offers.