Areas and Places

The changing face of Killarney

The young, up-and-coming Johannesburg professional now has a new place to call home – the hip yet historical suburb of Killarney. While in the last few decades, Killarney residents have primarily been retirees and individuals close to retirement, the average age of residents in this area is currently 25 to 35. According to Jonathan Davies, joint area manager of Pam Golding Properties (PGP) Hyde Park office, this change in the demographic profile of the suburb has meant a significant improvement for the area as a whole.

“In the past few years, there has been a veritable avalanche of young, professional people who want to buy property in Killarney – more than 80% of PGP’s buyers in the area are younger than 35. They have brought with them more disposable income which has translated into more money being available for investing in the buildings and in the suburb itself. These twenty- and thirty-somethings want safe, clean streets and well-maintained buildings and gardens – and they are willing to pay additional levies to fund such improvements.”

The establishment of the New Killarney Riviera Association (NKRA) ten years ago has also coincided with this influx of young buyers who take pride in Killarney. The association is made up entirely of volunteers who are hands-on when it comes to sprucing up the suburb. These proactive, dedicated individuals also have regular contact with the city council so they have a direct line to apply for what is required to keep Killarney pleasant, safe and clean.

Rupert Finnemore, joint area manager of PGP Hyde Park office, notes that the popularity of Killarney is also rooted in the fact that it was designed as a high-density residential suburb over half a century ago. “Another benefit of living in this area is that Killarney’s infrastructure, which was laid back in the 1940s to 1960s, is still the same as it is today, in the sense that the suburb has approximately the same number of inhabitants as it did a few decades ago and is still a solely residential area. What this translates to in practical terms is that services in Killarney are seldom under pressure. This is a very rare situation in Johannesburg.”

With most of Killarney’s buildings being constructed between 1940 and 1970, young professionals are also drawn to the generous proportions of the apartments. “This particular demographic choose to buy in Killarney because of the expansive rooms, high ceilings, and thick walls found in the majority of the residences. Their fittings and features are of high quality and have no substitute. You simply don’t get this kind of space for this price anywhere else in Johannesburg. Properties in Killarney range from R1.1 million for a one-bedroom apartment to anything up to R4 million – more if the property has a unique position, history or appeal,” says Davies.

The area is also sought after by the younger set due to its positioning. “Killarney is close to the M1 highway, which leads to all the main freeways in Johannesburg. Oxford Road and Jan Smuts Avenue, important arterial roads, are also easily accessible from Killarney. It is nearby Johannesburg’s CBD and Rosebank, making it ideal for residents who work in those areas,” explains Finnemore.

Killarney Mall, with its variety of shops and entertainment offerings is just around the corner, while access to an even bigger choice of retail outlets can be found in the nearby suburbs of Rosebank and Melrose Arch.

In addition, the close proximity to Rosebank, Johannesburg and Sandton has long been an important selling point. OR Tambo International is only 35 minutes away by road and is also easily accessed via the Gautrain, as is Pretoria.

Davies comments that the growing demand in and around Killarney is largely attributable to the changed image of the area as well as the position enjoyed by the suburb, which is central to so many hubs of business, retail and study, but is also distinctly residential. “With corporates such as Standard Bank increasingly investing in the nearby Rosebank precinct and upgrades to area landmarks such as the Rosebank Mall, The Zone, Melrose Arch and Netcare Rosebank Hospital, perceptions have changed radically. So much so, that Killarney is becoming one of Johannesburg’s most desirable areas.” The recent orientation toward apartment living has also given this ‘Mini Manhattan’ a major boost.

Kayte Denham, PGP agent for Killarney, notes that most of the individuals who live in the suburb own their properties, as it is capital well invested. “The capital appreciation is proving to be significant. In the past year alone, the average price of apartments which I have sold in Killarney has increased by 18%. Last month, for example, I sold a two-bedroom flat for just under R3 million. With prices ranging from R11,500 to R20,000 per sqm, Killarney is definitely a location buyers can feel confident in.”