Areas and Places

Atholl residential market continues to hold its own

This four bedroom home in Atholl with great attention to detail and superb finishes, including a beautiful colonnade entrance and a master bedroom suite with a private lounge and fireplace, is on the market for R8.9 million.

The exclusive northern Johannesburg suburb of Atholl, which boasts wide tree-lined streets, elegant properties and myriad top-notch entertainment and leisure options, also continues to offer home owners a solid return on investment.

Deeds Office figures reveal a steady increase in both property values and sales volumes in a suburb that nearly a decade ago was already averaging more than R5 million per transaction.

During 2007 there were 22 houses sold at an average price of R5.712m and, despite starting from a high base through the economic slump that followed, property in Atholl has held its value. Post-crash period prices peaked in 2014 when 37 houses changed hands, including several sales which realized between R10m and R15m each, as well as one property which sold for R40m.

And although the market has since steadied, 2015 saw 33 houses sold at a median price of R6.342m.

Justine Roux, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says: “Prices and demand have steadily increased year-on-year, with a notable surge in demand for sectional title properties as more and more people want to get their foot in the market of this exclusive suburban enclave”.

“For between R1.8m and R3m, young families and first-time investors can buy into the established, sought-after suburb and enjoy easy access to the same benefits and amenities as their wealthier neighbours in freehold homes.”

Roux says the most popular properties are freestanding family homes on 2 000m² plots and secured clusters on 1 000m², with security being of primary importance in both freehold and sectional title homes.

“However, older houses on 2 000m² stands which offer more accessible prices are becoming scarce as there is an increased tendency for the owners to renovate to create their dream homes rather than sell, thereby extracting maximum value from their original investments.”

Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty says: “Atholl has traditionally been a freehold suburb characterized by large, gracious homes on spacious grounds, but this has slowly changed over the past decade with subdivision of land becoming more common”.

“Many owners of the larger tracts of land of around 3 700m² have been selling off portions of their properties whilst retaining their original homes on reduced plots. This has resulted in the advent of smaller homes as well as secure cluster developments becoming more prevalent.”

Geffen says that sectional title developments of three or four storeys are also becoming common feature on the Atholl property landscape, with more developments in the pipeline.

Roux says that Atholl has also predominantly been a “buy-to-live area” rather than investor-focused and, while this hasn’t changed with freehold properties, there is now an active rental market among sectional title properties.

“Around 60% of rental properties in Atholl are apartments and close to 30% are cluster homes,” she says.

“A typical investor property in the area is a two-bedroom apartment, currently currenlty a median rental of R16 000 to R20 000 per month, with houses often fetching between R40 000 and R70 000 per month on the rare occasion that they become available to rent.”

Roux predicts that the market in Atholl will retain its value during the current economic dip, although properties may remain on the market a little longer.

“Over and above its appealing country atmosphere and secure, tranquil lifestyle, Atholl’s massive appeal is the suburb’s central location and proximity to the Sandton and Rosebank business centres, excellent schools and world-class shopping hubs”.

“It also boasts its own retail hub in the form of Atholl Square, which is populated with convenient neighbourhood shops, upmarket fashion and décor stores, excellent eateries and a Spar for grocery essentials. And unusual for this part of the world is the free parking offered at the centre”.

“Another popular destination is the Blubird Shopping Centre, which boasts a patisserie, upmarket restaurants and the local Woolworths. It is also home to the popular neighbourhood Whole Food Market, which takes place every Sunday morning.”

Roux says there is no doubt that Atholl’s appeal to younger professional families will endure, especially with the on-going construction of sectional title developments and smaller homes.