By Bev Mortimer
The building boom that started last year following the big fire in November 2012 that razed 76 homes on St Francis Bay’s canals is still buoyant and the majority of builders are still upbeat about the construction industry.
And the majority of those in the related building industries, those in the trades such as plumbing, tiling, painting and carpentry, report continued work and being exceptionally busy even in the winter months. Their comments were identical to the ones they made last year and at the beginning of this year – that the spinoff from the building boom is keeping them in business and money is being spent in St Francis – and this is good for the area.
One top builder said he is still extremely upbeat about the situation in the industry and that advertising and previous newspaper articles on the building boom have added to the demand for homes to be built, particularly on the canals. “We are fully committed until Easter next year. We have picked up so much work and there are many demands for building plans – an excellent sign.”
Another prominent builder was among others who spoke anonymously on the exchange rate and its effect on the trade. He admitted to still being as busy as he was last year but he pointed out that the weaker Rand was having a slight dampening effect on top of the range or expensive homes being built.
However another builder disagreed as he has not noticed any fall back on orders for upmarket homes. “Those with R1-m plots wish to add value to them and want R2-m homes built.”
He and other builders point out that the prices of newly built homes can vary substantially – from under R1-million (for a 150 sqm) to almost R3-million depending on the finishings and the size of the home.
Glossy magazines and many websites portray the most amazing finishes inside homes and new home owners dream of having homes equalling those advertised. But some prices of imported items such as taps, basins, marble tops, Italian tiles and top of the range lighting effects have escalated. So it depends on how much one wants to spend.
Some builders spoken to point out that a breakdown of costs up front and an explanation of the price range from local to imported items will herald no surprises later for land owners. “Land owners should get quotes from more than just one builder, then choose and sign up with one they are comfortable with and who can give them a lot of attention and guidance,” a builder advised.
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