Areas and Places

Bryanston emerges as a leader in changing Johannesburg trends

This elegant mansion with five double bedroom suites, a chef’s kitchen, family/cinema room, formal lounge and dining rooms with fireplaces, a wine room, double staff accommodation, four-car garage, a guardhouse and state-of-the-art security, is on the market in Bryanston for R28 million. The more than 1 300m² house sits in a manicured garden of nearly 6 000m².

Often regarded as a reliable barometer of the general property market in Northern Johannesburg, Bryanston has shown in recent years that not only can it hold its value during times of economic downturn, but can also lead the way in changing trends.

Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty says: “Bryanston is traditionally regarded as the domain of the wealthy, with a property landscape dominated by expansive family homes on generous erven. However, over the past decade the residential component has changed exponentially and Bryanston now offers accessible entry level prices which start at around R800 000.”

Geffen adds: “Well-priced sectional title and cluster homes now allow first time buyers and young families to invest in the area, while those seeking more luxurious country-style living still have their pick of gracious homesteads.”

Manuela Coelho, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says: “Depending on the property’s location and finishes, a free standing house or cluster home in Bryanston can be bought for anywhere between R3.5m and R50m.”

“Prices are most reasonable in the extensions,” says Coelho, “and areas such as Bryanston Extensions 5 and 8, Beverley Gardens, Vandia Grove, Klevehill and Petervale offer all the advantages of Bryanston proper, but they’re more affordable and many of them are buffered from the highway, which means less noise.”

Says Coelho: “The lower to mid segments of the market are most active, but there is often a shortage of available properties as they tend to be snapped up as soon as they hit the market.”

According to Lightstone, in the year to November 2014, there were 263 new registrations of sectional title homes to a total value of R374 million, while only 36 estate homes and seven freehold residences were registered during this period.

Coelho believes that the changing face of Bryanston has not only benefited the market, but has also resulted in a vibrant and dynamic suburb which has not only retained its exclusivity but remains one of the most lucrative areas in the country, offering excellent investment returns.

Coelho adds: “One of the most noticeable effects of this transformation has been the change in demographics, and Bryanston is now home to an eclectic range of residents across all age groups and races, with more than 40% of investors now being young professionals.”

“However, Bryanston’s main appeal factors include its sense of tradition and strong sense of community, so you will find that many of the younger buyers grew up in the area and are returning to raise their own families, with their children most likely attending the same schools as their parents.”

Other distinct draw cards include excellent amenities and sporting facilities, numerous exceptional schools and close proximity to South Africa’s financial powerhouse, the Sandton CBD as well as several office parks and business centres, including The Campus in the heart of Bryanston which houses corporations like Shell and Dimension Data.

Coelho says that the suburb’s accent on security is especially appealing to families and, as one of the first Johannesburg areas to establish a coordinated community block watch and policing forums, Bryanston has succeeded in creating an environment which fosters a close knit community where neighbours who grew up together now watch their grandchildren play together.

Boasting more than half a dozen upmarket shopping centers, an array of outstanding restaurants and a country club with an 18-hole golf course, squash and tennis courts and a bowling green, everything residents could need is right on their doorstep.

Originally more farmland than suburb, most of Bryanston’s signature three to six-acre plots have now been significantly reduced to acre plots or even smaller, with many rambling homes making way for modern developments. However, in spite of these changes, Bryanston remains not only the largest suburb in South Africa, but also the greenest.