Densification may be the property watchword in Johannesburg as the sprawling metropolis grows to accommodate increasing numbers of younger investors, but savvy buyers are still looking to long-established suburbs for their primary homes because these still offer a traditional sense of community.
This is evidenced by the fact that almost 50% of property owners in Robindale and Robin Hills have owned their properties for 11 years or more and it is also one of the main reasons that the markets have remained consistently active over the last decade and maintained momentum during the current credit crunch.
This is according to Shaune Swart, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, who says the suburbs also quickly recovered lost ground post-2008: “By 2010 both suburbs were back to achieving top prices and, although the prices could dip imperceptibly, I don’t foresee the market changing much in response to the current economic downturn”.
“The majority of investors who buy in these suburbs now are the same profile as the past decade; young families that are drawn by the area’s convenient location, proximity to good schools, stability and excellent value and they tend to stay until their children finish school”.
“In contrast, most of the sellers are empty-nesters and retirees. Younger sellers are usually families that are emigrating or relocating within South Africa.”
Both suburbs are tree-lined, well-organised and tranquil residential areas with little commercial activity, although they are perfectly situated to offer easy access to the amenities of Sandton and Randburg, where many of the residents work.
Says Swart: “Robindale and Robin Hills also offer a broad selection of property options at very accessible prices to suit all budgets and requirements”.
“Almost 95% of the homes in the more upmarket Robin Hills are freehold, while first time buyers will find excellent entry-level options in Robindale where 46% of the properties are sectional title and a one bedroom apartment can be bought for about R650 000″.
“Robindale is the larger of the suburbs and houses here are typically the standard three bedroomed, two bathroom home that sell for between R1.8m and R3m”.
“In Robin Hills, the entry to mid-level homes and prices are much the same but the upper end of the market has a higher ceiling and offers more luxurious homes which are priced up to R5m or R6m”.
“Although the lower end of the market is by far the most active, Robin Hills is home to Valley Road, the original millionaires’ row in Randburg, as well as three gated roads with larger homes that offer more privacy and better security.”
Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty says: “Although the Robins have always been popular family suburbs, their appeal has been boosted dramatically in recent years as the spiralling traffic congestion on Johannesburg’s main feeder arterials has increasingly influenced buyers’ decisions”.
“We are also seeing a growing number of investment buyers who are attracted by Robindale’s flourishing sectional title rental market, where according to Lightstone 35 apartments changed hands during the past 12 months with a combined value of just under R33m, at an average sale price of R940 486″.
“The middle market price band of R800 000 to R1.5m was the most active with 20 transactions, while 13 apartments were sold in the entry level bracket of R400 000 to R800 000 and two apartment sold in the upper R1.5m to R3m price band.”
No sectional title units were sold in Robin Hills during the past year.
Swart says that although these two suburbs dominate the Robins, they are actually part of a trifecta, even though the youngest kid on the block consists of only three roads. Robin Acres comprises 100% freehold homes with prices ranging between R1.8m and R4m.
The main reason these sought-after suburbs have been able to maintain their appealing leafy residential atmosphere is their very convenient location to a range of commercial and recreational amenities that have developed in neighbouring suburbs.
Nearby Brightwater Commons and Cresta Centre offer myriad retail and entertainment options and sports enthusiasts have a choice of three Virgin Active gyms and the Randburg Sports Complex which offers baseball, soccer, tennis and hockey.