A top view of Johannesburg’s skyline.
Gauteng may be the smallest province in South Africa, but it’s at the top of the performance charts when it comes to schooling (based on the matric pass rates of 2014). Johannesburg and Pretoria have the cream of the crop, and are generally the first choice for most people moving into the area.
But with so much diversity and so many options between the two cities, how do you even begin to decide which neighbourhood is best for your family, your lifestyle, and your finances?
To help you with the decision-making process, we’ve chatted to our Rawson Property Group neighbourhood experts from both cities to bring you their recommendations for the best places in Gauteng to raise your school-aged kids.
“The Parks area is extremely convenient in its proximity to some of the best public and private schools in Joburg,” says Rawson Property Group franchisee for Greenside, Justin Smith. “There’s Parkview Junior and Senior, Auckland Park Prep, Kingsmead College, Parktown Girls, St John’s College, King Edward VII, Roedean, Greenside Primary and High, and Jan Cilliers, among others.”
Technically a collection of smaller suburbs, The Parks includes Parkhurst, Parktown North, Parkwood and Parkview. As one of the older, more established parts of residential Johannesburg, the streets are tree-lined and the houses well-designed. Residents range from up-and-coming young families, to some of Joburg’s most affluent citizens.
“Parkhurst is the younger, hipper suburb,” says Smith. “It has a trendy high-street component, with shops and restaurants, and the average stand size is around 495m2.” He continues to explain that while a fixer-upper can cost between R2 – 6million in Parkhurst, demand in the area is constant and has shown a nearly linear growth curve, even over slump periods.
Likewise in the nearby Parkview, which boasts larger stands and only around 950 homes in total. “The average sales price here is about R3,777,000,” says Smith, “with the average home-ownership at 11 years.” Interestingly, the rental market appears to be growing as well, making this an increasingly attractive suburb for investment purchases.
“The Parks area is very popular,” Smith continues, “with above average capital growth. We can put a reasonably-priced (for the area) home on the market, and have 18 – 20 pre-approved buyers arrive on show days.”
North of The Parks, bordered by the N1, is the second of Johannesburg’s top school neighbourhoods – Bryanston. Schools in the suburb include well-regarded public schools such as Bryandale, Bryanston Primary, Bryneven and Bryanston Parallel Medium, as well as top private schools including St Stythian’s, the British International College and The King’s School. Within a 3-5km radius of the area, you’ll also find the French School (Lycée Français Jules Verne), Redhill, Fourways High and Dainfern College.
“Bryanston is the largest suburb in the southern hemisphere, and the greenest suburb in the country,” says Rawson Properties Franchisee for Bryanston, Merrick Meek. “It’s like one, big greenbelt on the doorstep of Sandton, with great access and egress routes and flagship shopping centres and stores.”
“Consequently,” Meek explains, “Bryanston has the second highest number of high-net-worth individuals in Johannesburg. It’s a very cosmopolitan area, with a good mix of people from all races and age-groups.”
Stand sizes in the area are generous, with cluster houses ranging from 800 – 1000m2, and freehold properties frequently reaching 4000 – 5000m2. Prices run from R1 – 2.5million for sectional title, and R3.5million upward for freehold.
“There is a very positive capital growth rate,” says Meek, “and with the high demand in the area, houses don’t often stay on the market long.”
While Johannesburg might be the commercial centre of the country, Pretoria is the political centre, and has many good schools of its own catering to locals as well as children of foreign diplomats.
Waterkloof, in particular, is located within a hub of excellent schools, and comes highly recommended as a family suburb by Rawson Property Group’s Waterkloof franchisee, Bertie Lombard.
“Waterkloof Primary, Anton van Wouw and Abbotts College are all in Waterkloof,” Lombard says, “and then Afrikaans Seuns’ Hoer, Afrikaans Meisies’ Hoer, Menlo Park Hoer and Laerskool, Pretoria Boys’ High, Pretoria Girls’ High, Lynnwood Laerskool are all within easy reach.”
“The main draw to the area is the number of great schools, but we’re also seeing a lot of people moving in to avoid the traffic into town,” says Lombard.
An upmarket, established suburb, Waterkloof has several, beautiful heritage houses and streets lined with Jacaranda trees. Stand sizes vary from 800m2 to 3000m2, with the average property around 1,500m2.
“Prices range from R2.5 – 18million,” Lombard says, “with the average at R3 – 4million. If the asking price is market-related, anything below R4million will sell almost immediately.”
While most of Waterkloof’s properties are occupied by the owners, the suburb’s central location has also made it ideal for embassies, and many of the larger properties are either owned or rented by foreign countries. Because of this, the area has excellent security – and no load shedding!
It’s clear that Johanneburg and Pretoria both have a lot to offer families with kids, and the best way to find out which neighbourhood fits your lifestyle is to chat to the Rawson Property Group franchisee in the area. Get to know the pros and cons from the people who know and love their neighbourhoods best.