Areas and Places

Stalwart Kensington still a 'best buy'

This stylish home in Kensington is for sale through Harcourts Full Circle for R1,78m.
Situated on the border of Bedfordview, it has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, spacious open-plan lounge and dining areas, and a separate large entertainment room leading out to an enclosed courtyard with pool. There is also a cottage on the property, and lock-up garaging for three vehicles.

Kensington property prices have risen only slowly for the past five years, and it is one of Johannesburg’s “best value” suburbs, where you can still buy a solid family home on a sizeable stand for well under R2m.

That’s the good news from Werner Lilleike of leading local agency Harcourts Full Circle, who says:“With its proximity to the airport, several freeway onramps and the CBD, Kensington is very central and a great choice for those who prefer a traditional suburb but also want the convenience of living close to everything – good schools, shops, sports facilities and entertainment venues.

“And home prices here are a steal compared to any other suburb in Johannesburg that is as well-located. You can buy a three or four-bedroom house on a 495sqm stand here for between R1,2m and R2m, and many have additional staff quarters or cottages that can be let to earn income.”

“Apartments are available at prices from around R480 000 for a one-bedroom unit in a traditional building in Roberts Avenue, to around R900 000 for a contemporary one-bedroom on the ground floor close to shopping centres.”

A favourite among journalists, academics, artists and others who commute to the inner city, Kensington attracts a diverse group of buyers looking for comfortable homes with large rooms and classic “bones”. Many of the homes here also still feature pressed-steel ceilings, Oregon pine floors, bay windows and art deco fittings.

Schools in this suburb of around 4500 houses include the Glenoaks, Leicester, and Kensington Ridge primary schools, Kensington Secondary and the Jeppe Girls and Jeppe Boys high schools. Shopping venues include the Park Meadows centre and the nearby Eastgate Mall.

“Being a middle-class suburb, Kensington is sensitive to fluctuations in the economy, and the home prices here will always reflect that,” Lilleike says. “But we seem to be on an even keel now and prices are moving up again as demand rises.”

“And for buyers who are looking for a place to settle, to be part of a tight-knit community, to bring up children, slowly rising prices are an advantage. While the homes here provide one with a good investment, you can also afford to make an investment in an area that provides an excellent quality of life and stability. Many residents have lived here for decades and they take pride in looking after the parks and public amenities.”

“At the same time, he says, Kensington attracts people who are creative and enterprising and often upgrade or renovate their homes. “People who purchase a home here tend to be sensitive to the architecture, though, and will generally mix the old and the new very tastefully.”