Surrounded by leafy upmarket suburbs but purposefully planned as a higher-density area with the capacity for 10 000 modern apartments and townhouses, the Pretoria East suburb of Equestria perfectly fits the bill now for Millennial home buyers and tenants in search of a convenient, urban lifestyle at a reasonable price.
“So it is not surprising”, says Anne Rich, the Rawson Property Group’s franchisee for Equestria, “that it has rapidly become one of the trendiest and most sought-after areas for young people to live in, and one of the busiest in terms of property sales and new developments”.
According to property data company Lightstone, there have been some 494 property transfers here in the past 12 months, and 44% of these recent buyers have been under the age of 35, while another 34% of them were in the 36 to 50 bracket. The number of registrations has also grown consistently since 2010.
“Equestria is brilliantly located just off the N4 freeway between Pretoria and Witbank, and within really easy reach of the N1 to Centurion, Midrand and Johannesburg, as well as the Gautrain station in Hatfield, for those who prefer to commute by train,” she says.
It is, however, close to all the new commercial and retail developments that have taken place all along Lynnwood Road and right out to the Silver Lakes Golf Estate in the past few years, which means that there are plenty of employment opportunities right on the doorstep for Equestria residents, along with a huge variety of shopping, entertainment and sporting venues.
These include The Grove shopping centre which has an ice rink and movie complex as well as a huge variety of restaurants and shops, as well as the Willow Way centre, the Equestria Gateway centre, Silver Oaks Crossing and Hazeldean Square, where there is a Virgin Active gym. There is also a Makro store nearby and a Food Lovers’ Market, as well as a wide variety of décor stores.
“And this is what young people want – everything they need close to home so they don’t have to waste time commuting, lots of local places where they can take part in different leisure activities and socialise with their friends, and compact, modern homes that are secure and require very little maintenance,” Rich says.
In addition, she notes, the extensive development of new apartments and townhouses in the past few years has created plenty of stock and made Equestria affordable for young buyers, unlike many other areas around the country that have also been created with the principles of New Urbanism in mind.
“Properties for sale in this area, start from R750 000 for apartments with two bedrooms and one bathroom. Three bedroom apartments and townhouses are available at prices from about R1.3 million onwards, while sectional title units with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a garage start from around R1.065 million”.
“The monthly bond repayments for young buyers in Equestria thus start from around about R9500, so even with property rates and levies adding anything between R900 to R1300 for a full title, R1300 to R2500 for a sectional title a month, making their accommodation costs well under R12 500 a month – for a modern, secure home in a great location.”
“Meanwhile”, she says, “there is also growing demand here from repeat buyers in search of family homes with more living space and gardens, thanks to the proximity of excellent government and private schools such as La Montagne Primary, Willow Ridge High, Curro Silver Lakes, Abbotts College and Tyger Valley College, as well as the private Wilgers Hospital. There are also a number of retirement villages in Equestria that cater for individuals throughout their whole life cycle and property requirements”.
“And there is plenty here to suit their needs. For example, there are currently at least four new developments under way in Equestria offering freestanding two and three bedroom homes with two bathrooms and private gardens, at prices from around R1 million all the way up to about R3 million”.
“When it comes to resales, an average two bedroom, two bathroom simplex with gardens start at just over R1 million, while at the top end of the Equestria market, around R3.5 million will buy a luxury four bedroom, four bathroom home with four living areas, three garages and a pool in a security estate.”
According to Lightstone, the current average sale price for sectional title properties in Equestria is R1.065 million, and that for freehold properties in security estates is R1.445 million.