Areas and Places

Gauteng's property 'hot spots'

By all accounts, the next two years are going to be challenging ones for the residential property market, thanks to rising interest rates and slow economic growth.

However, says David Jacobs, Regional Manager for the Rawson Property Group’s Northern and KZN regions, there will always be “hotspots” where both sales and prices continue to rise even in difficult times, and there are several of these currently spread across Gauteng.

What is more, it is becoming increasingly clear that the sustained demand in such areas is generally driven by a few factors that they have in common, and that relate to three big lifestyle trends, namely:

* Downsizing from large suburban properties to smaller homes that offer more security, relief from rising property rates and utility costs and more energy-efficient or off-the-grid living expenses;

* Re-centralisation from outer suburbs and estates back to inner suburbs and city centres in order to avoid road travel and reduce the amount of time and money spent commuting to work and back

* New urbanism, or the preference for self-contained areas that offer workplaces, good education facilities, shops and leisure venues all within easy reach of home.”

Taken together, he says, these trends point to areas where there is currently lots of new residential development of various kinds, and that also offer proximity to a commercial hub and a regional or super-regional shopping centre with a huge variety of retailers as well as restaurants, movies and probably a gym all under one roof. Then for families with children, the selection will most likely be further narrowed down to suburbs that also boast proximity to established and highly-rated schools.

Consequently, it should be no surprise to find that the following areas, in alphabetical order, are among the “hottest” property zones in Gauteng currently:

*Menlyn / Menlo Park in Pretoria. Menlyn, home to the massive Menlyn Park shopping centre and the high-profile Menlyn Maine green city development, is currently shaping up as the “Sandton” of Pretoria, and homes here and in the neighbouring suburbs of Ashlea Gardens and Menlo Park are in high demand and short supply. There are brand new upmarket apartments for sale in these areas at prices from around R1,2 million for a one bedroom unit and just under R2 million for a two bedroom unit. However, this node is also very popular with families, as it is within easy reach of most of the city’s top schools, and traditional stand-alone homes are currently being snapped up at prices from around R1,85 million for three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

*Noordwyk in Midrand, which has become increasingly trendy in recent times and is much more affordable than Waterfall. Prices for studio/bachelor apartments here start at around R440 000, one bedroom units at R475 000 and two bedroom apartments at R570 000. Prices for townhouses start at around R620 000 for two bedroom, one bathroom options and there are also several cluster complexes offering modern three and four bedroom homes at prices from around R1,2 million. Many of Midrand’s business parks and corporate headquarters are literally on your doorstep, as is the Gautrain station which enables residents to commute painlessly to Sandton, Johannesburg, Centurion or Pretoria. Noordwyk is also home to several top schools, an action sports centre and a large Virgin Active gym, and minutes away from several upmarket shopping centres.

*Rivonia in Johannesburg. As the Sandton CBD continues to expand and the local traffic congestion continues to deteriorate, the demand for apartments close to the offices in the area continues to rise. However, those in Sandown itself, while sought after, are now proving to be too expensive for most people, and sales in neighbouring Rivonia are soaring as a result. Prices for apartments in the many new developments in the area start at around R600 000 for studios, R800 000 for one bedroom units and R1 million for two bedroom units. The area is of course also very close to the Sandton City super-regional shopping and entertainment complex and well supplied with convenience shops and public transport options.

*Rosebank / Parktown in Johannesburg, which since the inception of the Gautrain has become one of the most desirable nodes in the city for young professionals and executives. Billions of rands have been spent on upgrading the local infrastructure and revamping the Rosebank shopping and entertainment precinct, and this has prompted several new offices and high-rise apartment blocks. Prices of the upmarket flats in these blocks currently start at around R1,6 million for one bedroom units and around R2 million for two bedroom units, but there are more affordable options available in neighbouring Killarney and especially Parktown, and all three areas are also within easy reach of the city’s top schools.

*Waterfall in Midrand where the giant Mall of Africa is set to open shortly. The mall lies at the heart of the new Waterfall City business district, which is already home to several new office and hotel developments, and is surrounded by new residential developments offering buyers a range of upmarket options. The Waterfall area also offers residents quick and easy access to the N1 freeway and other commercial nodes such as the Midrand CBD, Woodmead, Rivonia, Sunninghill and Fourways and home prices here start at around R1,4 million for a one bedroom apartment and around R4 million for a brand new three or four bedroom family home in an estate.