Sandton remains the financial and commercial heartbeat of South Africa and, notwithstanding weak national economic growth figures, continues to grow. This is evident from the many cranes that continue to dot its skyline and the large number of buildings and skyscrapers that are under construction in the area.
“Although Sandton has been the subject of massive development by both the private and public sectors for the last number of years, there is still an impressive 200 000 square meters of office space under development,” points out Rupert Finnemore, who heads up Pam Golding Properties in Gauteng.
“An estimated 100 000 people flood into the city every day for work or to take advantage of some of the best shopping and entertainment on offer. The Gautrain station is the busiest in the province. As a result, there is ongoing demand for residential accommodation in and around the city.”
According to Pam Golding Properties’ recently released research report on the SA property market, The Study, incorporating PGP Index, the greater Sandton area remains one of Gauteng’s residential property ‘hotspots’, recording one of the highest average freehold and sectional title residential property price inflation’s (43.5 percent) in the province in 2015.
The desire for property close to Sandton has in turn assisted to support the property markets in residential areas such as nearby Inanda, Illovo, Melrose North, Melrose Estate, Winston Ridge, Fairway and Atholl. Pam
Golding Properties agent Lynda Greeff, says that house price inflation in some of these areas has slowed somewhat in recent months due to external factors – including interest rates hikes, but such is the demand for quality accommodation that properties in these areas remain popular.
According to property research company Lightstone, the median property prices for freehold homes in the suburb of Illovo, by way of example, rose by more than 38 percent between 2014 and 2015, and by 6.6 percent for sectional title properties. In Inanda, the average freehold property rose by 12.7 percent in 2015 when compared with 2014.
“There are a number of reasons why homes in these areas continue to remain highly sought after, including their superb location,” points out Greeff. “Here investors can secure an exclusive leafy residential property on the very doorstep of both Sandton and Rosebank, with all the superb amenities that are on offer at these centres. Indeed, one would be hard pressed to find suburbs elsewhere in Gauteng that offer such a balanced combination of convenience, attractiveness, sense of community and value for money homes.”
“These suburbs not only offer easy access to Sandton and Rosebank, but are supported by major road systems such as the N3 freeway and nearby Gautrain stations. There is furthermore a convenient Gautrain bus stop situated in Oxford Rd in Illovo. Hundreds of businesses are headquartered in the region, reducing the time taken for residents to get to their places of work and, of course, they have access to some of the best shopping and entertainment on offer anywhere in the country.”
“A further draw card of the area is that it offers a range of possible property options to suit every pocket and taste, from apartments and townhouses to large luxury freehold properties. There are also some impressive estates with homes situated on large stands. A charming, historic home designed by legendary architect Sir Herbert Baker in 1902 is at present on the market in Inanda through PGP. Residential property prices in the Illovo/Inanda area can range from R1.5 million all the way up to R25 million. Buyers can still find older three- or four-bed homes here for between R3.5 million and R4 million, depending on location and the condition of the property.”
Illovo sectional title agent Kayte Denham, who recently won the regional marketing award at the 2015 Pam Golding Properties Gold Club Awards, says that residents in these suburbs vary from wealthy executives and entrepreneurs through to younger professionals. There are a greater number of younger buyers and owners in suburbs such as Illovo, while residents in Inanda tend to be older and more established.
“Sectional title properties are increasingly in demand in the region due to the high costs of fuel as well as the recognition of the very real cost of travelling-time for young professionals. Mature individuals looking to ‘downsize’ without compromising their access to family, community members or traditional retail centres, form the remaining part of the buyer profile”.
“There are a myriad benefits of buying older sectional title apartments in Illovo and surrounds, from acquiring an apartment with high ceilings, massive walls and large spaces at affordable prices, to having quick and easy access to services, retail and entertainment while residing in a leafy suburban setting. With easy access to all northern suburb centres, these apartments are acquisitions of choice, rather than necessity.”
In upmarket and established Inanda, only some 15.6 percent of homes are held under sectional title arrangements, whereas 33 percent are freehold and 51.5 percent are situated within estates, according to Lightstone. In Illovo, on the other hand, a little more than 84 percent of properties are sectional title homes, for which there is an ongoing demand. In the suburb of Birdhaven, a half of all homes are sectional title properties.
“One of the key aspects which is evident across most of these suburbs, is the strong sense of community that exists within them and they are all well run and maintained by local authorities. Residents enjoy the outstanding restaurants and retail outlets available at the popular Thrupps Shopping Centre and at Illovo Square. They are, furthermore, just a stone’s throw from facilities such as Melrose Arch and Wanderer’s cricket stadium,” says Denham.
“Parents within the Illovo/Inanda area appreciate the fact that they are close to some of the finest schools in South Africa. St David's Marist – Inanda, Kingsmead College and St Thersa’s Mercy School, for example, are just minutes away. The University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science, meanwhile, is situated within Illovo itself.”
The popular, exclusive Inanda Club is located on hectares of country estate, providing a vast green belt close to the very centre of Sandton. The Club offers horse riding, and a range of other activities and services to members and guests.
“Given its superb location, the residential property market in the Illovo/Inanda region would appear to have a bright future. Still, sellers should keep in mind that we are in broad terms in a buyer’s market in which investors are showing considerable care before investing in a property. This means that residential properties need to be appropriately priced if they are to be sold in good time. A trusted property agent with excellent local knowledge and experience will be able to assist in providing the necessary guidance in this regard,” concludes Greeff.