The fuel price is now directly impacting where South Africans are choosing to live

Ongoing, escalating fuel costs – with yet another hike on the cards for September – coupled with rising traffic congestion in South Africa’s cities, is playing an increasing role in the locations selected where consumers will buy or rent a home.

This is according to Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group, who said that ultimately this also impacts on housing demand and price.

“The ongoing increase in the fuel price is contributing to the way we live and work,” said Golding.

“It’s also changing the way companies think in regard to office layouts and the time employees spend in the office, with many adopting far more flexible working hours including work-from-home scenarios for both entrepreneurs and staff, and co-work spaces which eliminate seldom-used space.”

He added that this has a direct bearing not only on the built environment, but also on where people can and choose to live, leading to three distinct trends which are apparent.

“Firstly, the advent and growing demand for ‘live, work, play’ hubs in various centres around the country, where people can walk to work and enjoy access to all amenities and leisure activities right on their doorstep. This is also an environment which buzzes with activity way beyond the ‘traditional’ 8 to 5 working hours, which is why the mixed-use development business model is proving so successful in prime commercial nodes or hubs,” he said.

“Secondly, the rising popularity of properties on key transport corridors for easy commutes via rail, road and air, including those who live within easy reach of airports for business travel as and when required.

“And then there is a third group of people who are opting out of the frenetic pace of city life to country environments where they can enjoy a slower paced lifestyle either in retirement or while still generating income.”

Electric cars

Golding said that, at the same time, the advent of electric cars will impact on property buying trends once these vehicles become more affordable and electric charging stations become readily available.

In South Africa, there appear to be three fully electric vehicles on sale in the market – BMW’s i3 and i8 and the Nissan Leaf, while various manufacturers have several battery-hybrid vehicles available locally, including Volvo and Mercedes Benz, he said.

While globally electric cars are already catching on, here in South Africa charging stations are limited. According to Nissan South Africa, there are about 90 EV charging stations in Gauteng, available at shopping centres, Nissan dealerships and office blocks.

Areas which immediately spring to mind where you can charge your electric car include Melrose Arch in Johannesburg and Constantia Village in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs.

Developers of new complexes and mixed-use developments are also looking to include electric charging facilities for vehicles, Pam Golding said.

Read: The 10 most in-demand suburbs in Pretoria – and how much you’ll pay to live there

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The fuel price is now directly impacting where South Africans are choosing to live