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Since the interest rate started dropping, it made sense for several tenants to rather buy their own property than pay rent – but not if they were renting in a Houss development

A quality, care-free lifestyle, an array of benefits, amenities and activities, as well as peace of mind, come standard with every Houss rental. Head of Houss Jessica Hofmeyr explains how they got it right.

Tell us more about the scope of Houss’s portfolio.
Houss manages over 4,700 units, three restaurants, two spas and seven gyms, with a rental income billing of R37m per month. Most of our developments are in the Midrand area. We do, however, have apartments in Pretoria East, and have just launched a development called 5ive on Thirteenth in Northcliff. We’ll soon be starting a development in Somerset West which will be our first in the Western Cape.

Why did Houss move towards a ‘develop to rent’ model?
The CEO of Century Property Developments is a visionary when it comes to property trends, and he saw, way before it happened, the trend that renting would become more popular than purchasing your own home. Even with the interest rates at 7%, renting a unit from our portfolio is still cheaper and comes with a lot more benefits than owning your own property. Levies, rates and taxes, maintenance etc. are all carried by us as the landlord.
What rental trends are you seeing among your clients?
What we’ve seen happening is that many of our clients have sold their houses in Johannesburg and moved to the coast. They then rent a cheaper lock-up-and-go unit from us in Johannesburg for when they have work that requires them to attend in person. Another trend is that many of our tenants are looking for more bang for their buck since the Covid-19 pandemic has decreased many households’ income. That’s why our packages are so popular: our rental amounts include free uncapped internet; free gym classes; free entertainment at the clubhouse on a weekly basis; and kids’ classes such as hip hop, music lessons, art classes, and tennis. Having these benefits included in their rental allows them to still live a full and active life, but at a lower cost than if they were residing elsewhere.

What are the core benefits and features of your most popular developments?
We’ve created a carefree lifestyle within secure estates. All our tenants have access to the same amenities and extras, no matter what the price of the unit. We follow a cruise-liner concept with all the amenities one could think of, and activities taking place every day. Our developments have lifestyle centres (a gym with free classes, restaurant, function rooms, a cinema, games room and spa); multi-purpose sports fields; children’s play areas; basketball courts; skate parks; paths for walking, running or cycling; pools; water parks for children; tennis courts with free lessons; laundry rooms and dry cleaning; a car wash; storage facilities; and schools within the developments, so that children can walk or cycle to school.

What are people willing to pay for a rental?
The Houss portfolio ranges from R3,900 to R48,000 per month. The majority of our rentals portfolio falls within the R3,900 to R9,800 per month range, and we are achieving a 98% occupation rate across the board. Our one-bedroom and bachelor units have proven to be our most popular.

What makes your developments so sought after?
We try and create a hotel lifestyle and experience at all our developments at a reasonable price which has made our concept hugely successful. We’ve received rave reviews for the modern industrial aesthetic of our developments – our lifestyle centres look like something out of a magazine!

Why did you add storage units to your developments?
With many of our tenants currently downsizing, the idea of building storage units within a few of our developments seemed like a no brainer, as this allows tenants direct access to their belongings within a few minutes at very affordable pricing – 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

What can a potential tenant expect to pay for the different options?
We have a few different ranges:

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