The economic downturn has put the squeeze on most residential markets as consumers continue to tighten their already straining belts, but suburbs like Witkoppen in Johannesburg that offer a wide price bracket and proximity to everything residents might need, have maintained a steady demand and suffered less impact.
Cecily West, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says: “We did notice a slight downturn in the market during January and February this year after the finance minister debacle in December but the market quickly bounced back and during the second quarter we were back to 2015 sales volumes with 67 transactions between April and June”.
“During the preceding 12 months from July 2015 to June 2016, there were a total of 246 repeat sales in Witkoppen of which 173 were estate homes, 15 were freehold and 58 were sectional title properties”.
“Sixty five of these transactions occurred in the second quarter of this year, with almost 70% (45) being homes in secure estates at an average sale price of R1.73 million. There were also two properties sold in new developments, bring the total fir this period to 67.”
Citing Lightstone data, West adds that freehold estate homes account for almost 60% of the property landscape in Witkoppen, with sectional title apartments (24.2%), sectional title estate properties (9.7%) and freehold houses (7.26%) making up the balance.
“Especially sought-after are homes in the established lifestyle estates such as Tezula and Stonewood where correctly priced properties are usually snapped up when they come onto the market.”
Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says that although the market in Witkoppen is still very active, sellers need to remember that buyers are not only feeling the pinch of the current slump they are also becoming much more savvy and more inclined to compare apples with apples.
“There is now an abundance of available property in the surrounding Fourways area and, in spite of its appeal, the suburb can only remain competitive and continue to attract increasingly budget-conscious investors if homes are correctly priced.”
Geffen adds: “Witkoppen attracts mainly younger investors under the age of 40 who have children of school-going age and although the suburb offers accessibly priced entry level apartments, the most active market segment by far is the middle market price band of R1.5m to R3m”.
“During the past year ending in June, 109 of the 171 estate homes sold and 11 of the 15 house sales were in this bracket with only the sectional title market seeing slightly more transactions in the lower price band of R800 000 to R1.5m, including 24 new apartments in a recent development and 28 of 58 repeat sales.”
West says that although the majority of buyers are young families, there has been a notable increase in demand from empty-nesters who are down-sizing and Witkoppen’s more exclusive estates in the R3m-plus price band are also beginning to attract the same buyers as Fourways Gardens and Dainfern.
Buyers who are attracted to the area for its multiple drawcards but prefer the convenience of lock-up-and-go homes generally buy in the adjacent suburb of Craigavon situated on the other side of Cedar Road where just over 96% of the properties are sectional title.
Says West: “However, instead of a built-up urban atmosphere one expects from a suburb comprising mostly sectional title properties, Craigavon maintains a quiet, country ambience, making it very sought-after in the midst of the growing urban sprawl of the northern suburbs”.
“It is also home to the last sustainable population of bush babies in Johannesburg and the careful planting of indigenous trees for their preservation has also created a tranquil greenbelt.”
Craigavon also enjoys an active market and in the second quarter of this year, 48 sectional title units changed hands with 44 being in the R800 000 to R1.5m price band at an average sale price of just under R1.25m. The remaining four properties were in the lower entry level price band and sold at an average of R746 750.
Both suburbs are ideally situated near major arterial roads which offer easy access to the commercial nodes in the northern suburbs as well as the CBD and they are also in close proximity to several good créches and schools, including Crawford Preparatory, Fourways High, Bryandale Primary, Crawford College and Dainfern College.
And, with Fourways Mall, Cedar Square and Broadacres Centre only a stone’s throw away, residents are spoilt for retail choice as all are home to excellent shops and restaurants.
The much-anticipated new Fourways Precinct with massive retail and commercial upgrades and the Gautrain which is soon to pass through the area en-route to Lanseria will further boost this fast-growing and sought-after residential district and offer excellent returns, especially for buyers who invest sooner rather than later.