The North West province is the world’s largest platinum producer, and also produces a large proportion of SA’s gold and diamonds, so it is not surprising that most of its employment is supplied by the mining industry or that its property market is closely linked to the fortunes of this sector.
The province has also been put on the map by the sprawling Sun City entertainment complex, which attracts hundreds of thousands of local and overseas visitors annually. The Pilansberg National Park, the Madikwe Game reserve, the Rustenberg Nature Reserve and the Hartbeespoort dam are also popular attractions.
The capital of the North West is Mafikeng. Other sizeable towns in the province include Mmabatho, Potchefstroom, Klerksdorp, Brits and Rustenberg. The population of North West is estimated at roughly 3,4m people, the majority of whom speak Setswana.
Rustenberg property has shown particularly strong growth in recent years, with large numbers of homeowners upgrading to bigger, more expensive homes on the strength of the platinum boom and the mining and business expansion it has brought about.
As a result, the town now boasts an accommodating variety of properties, ranging from the original “mine-houses” in the older suburbs to multimillion rand hillside mansions in the newer areas. Its rental market is also always extremely active.
Another large town, Potchefstroom has also benefited from mining expansion in recent years, but by far the biggest influence on property in Potchefstroom is the university at its heart, which attracts more than 11 000 students annually. Most find housing off campus in a range of communes, shared houses and student apartments, and demand for these is underpinned by many more thousands of students attending the town’s educational, technical and agricultural colleges.