Areas and Places

Craighall property market fueled by demand

This luxury four- to five bedroom traditional English-styled home has all the bells and whistles, from tennis court and pool-side pavilion to three receptions rooms. Set in a terraced landscaped garden it is also an inviting and comfortable family home and is on the market for R7.9 million.

Situated in the heart of the exclusive Parks area in Johannesburg North, two of Johannesburg’s oldest suburbs are attracting a growing number of young families and young professionals who are drawn by their convenient location and the fact that they have retained more than a hint of their original laid-back charm and character.

Recent research by Lightstone Property Solutions has revealed that Craighall and Craighall Park have both experienced a massive influx of young home owners in recent years, with reports showing that 45% of all new buyers are now under the age of 35.

According to Kass Bunkell and Emma Morris, Area Specialists for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, this spike in demand contributed significantly to the strong market recovery after the 2008 crash, driving up prices and rewarding savvy investors with a substantial return on investment.

Bunkell says: “Investors who were in a position to take advantage of the market slump are now realising an excellent return on their investment.”

Citing figures from the Deeds Office, she explains:“The economic downturn caused prices to plummet, with average house prices in Craighall dropping by around 31% from R2.82 million in 2007 to R1.93m in 2009 and in Craighall Park the median price decreased by almost 40% from R3.83m to R2.35m during the same period”.

“However, by 2014 the market had bounced back to a new high with average house prices in Craighall and Craighall Park reaching R4.2m and R4.15m respectively, which amounts to a hefty profit for savvy investors who were able to buy during the slump.”

According to Morris, prices have also been driven by the increasingly limited availability of stock, exacerbated by a low turnover of property, particularly freehold homes in the low to mid-market segments.

“Residents love the green, leafy Craighalls for the family-friendly atmosphere, sense of community, large established gardens and peaceful tree-lined streets, and we find that once people have moved into the area, they are reluctant to move away and tend to hang on to their homes for longer than in other areas.”

Morris adds that this trend also applies to the rental market:“While the sectional title rental market is very active and we are seeing more and more investor purchasing, those who buy houses in the area usually do so to live in them and not to rent out.”

According to Bunkell, the entry level price for houses in both areas is now between R3m and R4m, depending on the size of the stand and size and condition of the home.

“In that price bracket you can still get a good family home on a sizeable erf but it would be in need of modernising and sometimes more than just a little TLC. At the top end of the market, R8m to R9m will buy a modern, fully renovated house with all the bells and whistles set on stands of between 1500m² and 3700m²”.

She says that compared to some of their more exclusive neighbours the Craighalls still offer good value for money where expansive, beautifully renovated modern four and five bedroom homes with established gardens can be bought for between R5m to R5.5m, which is considerably less than the same property would cost in Sandhurst or Morningside.

“Although development has been gradual and there are still relatively few sectional title and cluster properties, they generally offer very accessible prices which start at around R1.2m for a one bedroom flat and R1.6m for a modern two bedroom,” says Morris, adding that “and buyers have a range of property choices in all price brackets, all the way to the top end.

Investors seeking the convenience and security of a lock-up-and-go lifestyle with our forfeiting luxury and comfort can now buy upmarket designer apartments in exclusive new upmarket developments for upwards of R8m.

Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty believes that the dynamic rental market and strong demand for sectional title and cluster homes in the Craigs will continue to thrive for the foreseeable future, offering investors solid returns on investment in the short and long-term.

Geffen says that one of the main factors driving both the sales and rental markets is the lifestyle that residents in the Craighalls enjoy.

“Not only do people regularly take to the peaceful tree-lined streets to jog or walk their dogs, but outdoor enthusiasts and families also have access to adjacent Delta Park, 104 hectares of lush recreational park land with biking and walking trails, a wild bird sanctuary and numerous scenic picnic spots.”