by CNBC Africa
Woolworths, South Africa's second-biggest retailer by value, aims to open 15 stores in sub-Saharan Africa, including in Kenya, Mauritius and Namibia, in two to three years, a senior company official said on Thursday.
By Pierre Hollander
Although Namibia’s property industry is booming and the commercial sector seems to be fairly saturated, there is a shortage of housing in virtually all price categories.
This is according to Pierre Hollander, head of sales and marketing for the Omeya Golf Estate development, 30km south of Windhoek on the B1 route beneath the Auas mountains.
“The Namibian economy is solid and strong,” says Hollander. “With an abundance of oil on the coast, uranium in Swakopmund and the start of gold mining here, the economy is bound to grow and so will the need for housing as more jobs are created and more people are attracted to the area.”
In Windhoek, at present, the average price for townhouses is around N$2 million and freestanding houses are in the N$3.2m to N$3.3m range. When compared to South Africa (one Namibian dollar equals one SA rand), this may seem quite expensive, yet there is no shortage of buyers, says Hollander.
“The marketing analytics provided by RED-i’s sales information management system, which is being used at Omeya, shows that potential buyers viewing the development explorer interactive sales map spend on average just over seven minutes viewing the properties and features on the estate. This indicates serious interest,” says Andrew Kumm, sales and marketing director for Red-i.
“It is also very interesting to note that viewers are from countries such as South Africa, Germany, UK, and even the United States.”
Omeya provides South Africans who want to diversify their property portfolios outside SA borders with an opportunity to invest in a stable and familiar environment, says Kumm. With Windhoek a two hour flight from Cape Town, it will also be relatively easy to keep track of their investments.
The 260ha Omeya development was launched just over two years ago by developer Andre van der Walt, who says there are only 60 plots still for sale in phases one and two.
“Of the 367 erven released, 220 have been transferred to buyers and 17 families are living at Omeya at present. By mid-2013 there will be 60 families living here and 100 by the end of this year,” says van der Walt.
“Sales have gone very well here. This could possibly be attributed to the shortage of residential developments but also to what is offered at this estate, where erven are more affordable than many other Windhoek properties.”
Facilities at Omeya include a Peter Matkovich designed golf course, and a pre-primary and primary school is under construction. The school was designed by Leon Barnard Architects and will be run by Windhoek Gymnasium, a well known Windhoek private school body. Intake is scheduled to begin in January 2014.
“When complete, this estate will have a wellness centre, gymnasium, its own hospital, conference centre, boutique hotel and a European style shopping village, with cobbled walkways leading up to the storefronts. The shopping village will have a convenience store, restaurants, boutique stores, a post office and a bank,” says Hollander.
At Omeya erven are priced from N$580 000 to N$2.8m, including transfer costs to natural persons. Sizes range from 514m² to 3 699m² and buyers are free to appoint their own architects and builders. However, strict architectural guidelines are in place and buyers also have a choice of 17 house plans that have already been drawn up.
“The homes are designed in a modern farmhouse style and the design standards will ensure that no home will be built that does not fit in with the size and aesthetic criteria, There is also a prescribed planting list and these plants are available from Omeya’s nursery,” says van der Walt.
One of the innovations at Omeya is a fibre optic cable system that will be installed in all the homes by local telecommunications company, Telecom. A fibre optic ring will connect wi-fi transmitters throughout the estate, enabling connectivity anywhere on the estate. Unlimited bandwidth will be included in the monthly levies.
This fibre optic circle also enables Omeya to have state of the art Flir security cameras installed in the next phase of security planning. These high end heat sensitive cameras will feed images to the central control room, pinpointing areas that may have been breached.
Hollander says the management at Omeya is also environmentally aware. A waste water recycling system processes all grey water and waste water and then feeds it back to the golf course irrigation system. All organic waste from the homes and gardens is composted and used in the nursery.
Call Pierre Hollander on 0811 444 265 or visit www.omeyagolf.com.