Thursday, July 18, 2024

Bloomberg recently reported that South Africa’s unemployment rate, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, rose to 44.4 percent in the second quarter, 2021. It also pointed out that the country’s unemployment rate surged to the highest on a global list of 82 countries it monitors.

Yet the construction industry, which has been ramping up job opportunities on building sites across the country – in an attempt to kick-start the economy and provide much needed jobs – is now showing promise.

By holding firm against a perilous economic backdrop, and with over 1million square meters of new developments anticipated over the next decade, Evergreen Retirement Holdings is once again likely to become a key job creator.

It has announced plans to significantly expand its national portfolio in 2022 with the launch of 1,000 new units across four developments in the Western Cape and Gauteng, creating employment opportunities within a sector that has been devastated by the coronavirus.

“The new construction phase will see upwards of 6,000 construction workers employed across the country, with operating villages accounting for a further 1,000 permanent jobs in facilities management, security, hospitality, and healthcare,” says Cobus Bedeker, Managing Director of Evergreen Property Developments.

“To keep up with the demand, we intend to grow our national footprint over the next 10 years to 10,000 homes, across 20 operating villages, with a value of R30 billion, Bedeker added. “We hope that by launching simultaneously across four major developments nationally, we can bring renewed hope to the construction and property development sector and act as a catalyst for further economic growth.”

Due to the backing of two financially powerful shareholders – listed financial services group PSG Alpha, and the Amdec Group, a leading private property investment and development company – Evergreen will be able to fund the construction of all four developments off its own strong balance sheet. The expansion will see approximately R3 billion invested over a 2-year rollout.

Headlining this expansion is the launch of a brand new 440-unit retirement village at Sitari Country Estate, just outside of Somerset West.  The village spans 9.5 hectares and will on completion accommodate 190 houses, 250 hotel-style suites, a state-of-the-art lifestyle centre, and a care centre offering 24-hour nursing care, sub-acute, palliative, frail and memory care.

The balance of the expansion will see sizeable new development phases at three of the Group’s existing villages. These include the introduction of a 4,000m² lifestyle centre and 96 hotel-style suites at Evergreen Noordhoek in the Cape Peninsula; 150 new free-standing homes and 208 luxury suites at Evergreen Val de Vie, outside Paarl in the Cape Winelands; and 108 serviced apartments at Evergreen Broadacres, just north of Johannesburg.

Bedeker believes that property developers have a significant role to play in reigniting South Africa’s economic recovery, stimulating job creation, and redressing South Africa’s legacy of social injustice and inequality.

“We believe there are massive opportunities in this property class in South Africa. Interest in retirement village living has gained momentum during the pandemic and the 2021 spate of lootings in KZN and Gauteng have knee-jerked demand for luxury retirement estates that offer sophisticated security measures, resort-style facilities, five-star hospitality, and a strong sense of community”, he said.

“Launching new developments and expanding the Evergreen portfolio at a time when other developers have either been unable – or reluctant – to do so, confirms our commitment to meeting the demands of residents and retirees alike, and demonstrates our confidence in the country and its economy,” concludes Bedeker.

The Group’s national portfolio currently sits at 1,200 units across 7 existing villages, with 1,000 new homes currently under construction.