Johannesburg North is home to numerous distinctive, upmarket and high profile suburbs, many of which which effortlessly attract buyers like moths to a flame, but in their midst are a handful of often overlooked and underrated gems like Savoy Estate.
The freehold market in this enclave has steadfastly held its ground during the current downturn which started to severely impact most markets at the end of last year and, at R2.25 million, the current median house price is now higher than it’s ever been.
This is according to, Howard Hoff, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, who says that while the sectional title market has mirrored what is happening in other areas, peaking in 2014 and dropping from 2015, house prices have steadily risen since the beginning of 2013.
Citing Lightstone data he says: “After a dip to R1.25m in 2012, the median price of freehold properties enjoyed significant year-on-year increases; from R1.425m in 2013, to R1.85m in 2014 and R2m in 2015 to its all-time high this year.”
“Savvy investors have begun to realise the strong investment potential of Savoy Estate’s traditional appeal and excellent value for money along with its convenient location and proximity to a number of shops, recreational facilities and commercial centres.”
Hoff believes that the market will continue to strengthen, especially after the municipal elections next month.
“Many buyers have been reluctant to commit in the run-up to the election resulting in a strong buyers’ market, but this should start to swing around again from September.”
Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says that one of Savoy Estate’s main drawcards is the value it offers compared with many of its neighbours.
“Spacious freehold family homes on generous stands start at around R1.9m with the top end of the market being about R3.4m for a luxurious five bedroom house set in a large established garden”.
“And, with 50% of recent buyers being in the 36- to 49-year age group, we are finding that the middle market is the most active segment whereas many other areas are now experiencing a surge at the lower end of the market due to a notable increase in younger buyers and the economic downturn.”
Geffen adds: “Savoy Estate also offers first time buyers a very accessible foot into the Northern Suburbs market with one and two bedroom apartments available from between R500 000 and R600 000.”
Hoff says that while around 80% of investors have traditionally bought homes in Savoy Estate to live in themselves, the rental market has gained momentum during the past six to eight months.
“Bonds have become less accessible due to the market recession which is curbing financial institutions’ willingness to lend, resulting in a more active rental market”.
“However, although the banks tightening their belts isn’t great news for home buyers, it’s good news for investment buyers who can now capitalise on the slump in anticipation of healthy short and long-term returns.”
Savoy Estate has become increasingly more cosmopolitan, appealing to a broader demographic, from first time buyers to more affluent buyers who previously may not have considered buying in the area.
There are several appeal factors that have captured the attention of investors, the main being the suburb’s ideal central location adjacent to Waverly and its popular synagogue, a stone’s throw from Melrose Arch and well-placed for easy access to the M1 highway and main arterials like Louis Botha Avenue and Oxford Road.
Norwood Mall, Sandton City and Rosebank’s retail hubs are a short drive away, St Mary’s Girl’s School and Linkswood Clinic are nearby and there are now also numerous upmarket business parks on Scott Street in the Waverly/Bramley area and along the M1.
Sport enthusiasts also have a choice of venues, with Wanderer’s cricket Club, Killarney Country Club and the Inanda polo fields being within 4km of Savoy Estate.
Hoff concludes: “The planned Rea Vaya Bus route along Louis Botha Avenue will vastly improve transport from the Johannesburg CBD via Alexandra to Sandton which will further stimulate and revitalise the suburb and contribute to maintaining Savoy Estate’s market.”