Areas and Places

Demand and property prices on the rise in Morningside

This triple storey architectural masterpiece boasts flowing reception rooms, a subterranean cocktail bar and cigar lounge, as well as a massive flow-through patio with wet bar. The home has 5 bedrooms, four garages, its own lift and double staff quarters, all set in Morningside’s most exclusive secure estate and is on the market for R34.5 million.

Strategically positioned in the northern suburbs, Morningside is regarded by many as one of the most desirable areas to live in Johannesburg and, with entry level free-standing house prices now nudging the R4 million mark, it offers investors an excellent opportunity to achieve significant capital growth on investment.

According to Wayne Brownhill, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, the single title homes that are still available for under R4m are usually old and often bought for the land. The houses are then demolished to make way for modern houses, which are generally worth at least three times the original price.

Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty attributes the increasing demand and subsequent rise in property prices to several key factors, including the dearth of available land for new development.

“The expansive family estates that once made up Morningside have all been subdivided and sold off as smaller erven or to developers for cluster homes, so there quite literally is no more space available.”

“One of the main reasons for the burgeoning demand,” says Geffen “is Morningside’s central location. Not only is it is conveniently tucked between Bryanston and Sandton, with Sandton City quite literally a stone’s throw away, it also lies along both sides of Rivonia Road, offering an easy commute to the nearby business centres.”

Geffen adds: “Another very attractive appeal factor is that, although Morningside has seen its fair share of residential development, it has remained relatively quiet and low key compared to its neighbours which are home to thriving commercial nodes, and this is attracts many young families to the area.”

Says Brownhill: “Currently the most popular segment of free-standing house the market is the R6m to R10m price band, with the upper end of the market flagging slightly in the face of the increase in transfer duties which can see Investors now forking out in excess of R1m just on transfer costs.”

That said, according to Brownhill, the high end of the market in Morningside hasn’t stagnated and there have been several recent sales which have nudged the suburb into trophy home status.

“The past two years have seen two properties change hands for around R25m and, at the Clouds End Estate, where we currently have a 1 200m² home available for R34m, a house was recently sold for R40m.”

According to Brownhill, young upwardly mobile families with school-going children make up the majority of buyers in the low-to-mid market as Morningside’s central location also offers easy access to many good schools in the area.

“The upper end of the market attracts many prominent captains of industry, and we have seen considerable interest from buyers from others African countries in recent years, particularly from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola and Botswana. And, as there are two Shuls and a Mosque in the area, we also have a strong Jewish and Muslim base of potential purchasers.”

According to Brownhill, the residential property market in Morningside weathered the 2008 credit crisis better than many areas with the prices remaining static rather than dropping, and it has recovered extremely well, with prices reaching record highs in the past two years.

Says Brownhill: “With demand now outstripping supply, a correctly priced house can sell within a matter of days. However agents still exercise caution when valuing homes as they can sit on the market for up to a year if incorrectly priced for the current market conditions.”