Areas and Places

Swift development drives Fourways residential market

Rapid residential, commercial and infrastructure development in Fourways in recent years has not only seen the suburb emerge as a significant and vibrant hub of Johannesburg, it has also significantly boosted the residential property market to its current highly sought-after and “demand-driven” state.

This is according to James Christelis, Northern Suburbs Director and Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, who says: “Residential property in Fourways has always been popular as it has generally offered great value compared to most of its upmarket neighbours, but the dramatic expansion and growth of the past decade has notably strengthened the market, with buyers increasingly confident of a solid long term return on investment”.

“The sectional title market in Fourways has also grown considerably and, with prices ranging between an affordable R700 000 and around R2.5m, the suburb has become very popular with first time buyers looking to get their foot in the northern suburbs market and live in close proximity to good schools”.

“With security now foremost on people’s minds, secure cluster developments and gated estates have also mushroomed in the area and are generally well-priced, ranging between R1.3m and R4m, depending on location, unit size and the facilities offered.”

An emergent trend in the area is the appearance of modern mixed-use developments such as the new Steyn City Parkland Residence, which offers a choice of accommodation from clusters and townhouses to compact apartments and retirement homes set on over 800 hectares with designated green spaces and parks for families.

However, one feature on the property landscape which hasn’t changed is the generous plot size of the original freestanding homes in Fourways, most of which were built on stands of up to 1 500m².

Says Christelis: “The zoning laws in Fourways prohibit subdivision in most pre-existing residential areas and, with houses priced between R1.8m and R4m depending on condition, size and location, investors get a lot more house for their money than in neighbouring suburbs like Rivonia and Bryanston where freestanding homes start at around R4m.”

Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says that the burgeoning demand for residential property in Fourways is also being driven by several other key factors.

“In addition to accessible prices and a wide variety of property options, Fourways also affords residents the luxury of living, working and playing within one area, which is extremely desirable in a city known for its traffic congestion and long daily commutes”.

“There are now a number of thriving office parks in the area with more commercial projects in the pipeline in addition to the ongoing retail development. Fourways is also home to two top-class medical centres and boasts myriad entertainment facilities, which means that residents have virtually everything they need on their doorsteps.”

Geffen adds that the suburb’s conveniently central positioning is another reason for its popularity, as residents can hop onto three major thoroughfares and enjoy easy access to Pretoria, the city centre and neighbouring nodes like Sandton City as well as nearby Lanseria Airport.

According to Christelis, the most buoyant market segment is the mid-level price band of R2m to R2.5m, with growing demand now resulting in stock shortages.

“Sectional title properties and homes in secure developments are especially sought-after for a number of reasons, the primary one obviously being security”.

“However, an increasing number of buyers are opting for the convenience of a lock-up-and-go lifestyle where Sundays aren’t spent mowing the lawn or fixing gutters. Maintenance costs are also usually significantly lower than for freestanding homes.”

Geffen says that the sectional title sector also has a more active rental market and attributes this to three main reasons.

“Young professionals are drawn by the convenience of sectional title properties, and security is an important factor across all demographics. But availability also plays a role as many of the investors who buy freestanding family homes usually do so to accommodate their growing families and raise their children near their school of choice”.

“The subdued economy, further dampened by interest rate hikes, a spike in the cost of living and banks’ reluctance to lend money, is also driving the rental market.”

He adds this is attracting an increasing number of savvy investment buyers who are realising the potential short and long-term returns of sectional title properties in Fourways.

“The ongoing investment and development in the area, along with the anticipated growth that this will generate have inspired investor confidence and Fourways is now considered to be one of the most promising areas for buying property in Johannesburg.”