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Thinking of building? East London still your cheapest option

If you’re dreaming of building a home by the coast, East London might be your most affordable option, according to a new StatsSA report.

Buffalo City, which includes the coastal city of East London, is currently recording the lowest construction costs for townhouses and flats anywhere in the country, according to a StatsSA analysis of building data.

The most expensive place to build similar dwellings is eThekwini (Durban). Despite higher costs, Durban approved building plans with the most generous floor area for houses, townhouses and flats. Over a five-year period from 2012 to 2016, the average floor area for a house in South Africa’s third-most populous city was 233 square metres. (That's the equivalent of a four-bedroom house with two bathrooms and a double garage.)

Cape Town, by contrast, has approved building plans for large numbers of smaller-sized residential units (between 30 and 80 sqaure metres) across the city.

"Interestingly, flats have grown increasingly popular in South Africa’s cities over the last couple of years, even outstripping the construction of townhouses. For every 100 plans rubber-stamped for houses in 2013, 26 plans were approved for flats. In 2016, this ratio had risen to 59," StatsSA concludes.

"The demand for townhouses has also increased, but not as much. In 2013, the ratio of townhouse plans approved for every 100 dwelling-house plans was 25, climbing to 33 in 2016.

The increasing demand for flats has occurred in nearly all of the eight metros, but particularly in Tshwane, Cape Town and eThekwini. In terms of the capital, one only has to think of recent developments in areas such as Hatfield, Pretoria CBD and around the new Menlyn Maine complex."

Read the full report here.

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