Houghton is definitely La Belle Dame of Johannesburg – a glamorous, cosmopolitan suburb with a long list of admirers dating back to the days of the Randlords and including leading politicians, prominent business executives, media moguls and successful musicians, actors, designers and other creatives who know their way around attractive real estate.
It is also full of surprises, says Rory O’Hagan, CEO of the Luxury Portfolio division of Chas Everitt International, who notes that the area is currently much in vogue again among the city’s high-end property buyers, thanks mostly to its central and extremely convenient location.
“Established in the early 1900s and regarded as one of the great heritage suburbs of SA, Houghton was traditionally viewed as a place to acquire a grand house in expansive grounds. But it has quietly undergone several rounds of rejuvenation over the past few years, and now offers quite an astonishing variety of homes in the same leafy, peaceful surroundings”.
“These include high-security cluster homes built on subdivisions of some of the original very large properties and ultra-modern apartments that look out over the Houghton Golf Course, as well as mansions offering magnificent views from Houghton Ridge and some lovingly-restored originals and historic landmarks like The Cullinan House that we recently sold.”
Another surprise for many prospective buyers, he says, is how multicultural and inclusive the suburb is. “This is indicated not only by fact that it is one of the few places in Johannesburg that houses Christian, Islamic and Jewish places of worship all within close proximity, but also by its very active residents’ association, which organises and promotes well-supported security initiatives and community events and projects.”
Other attractions, especially for family buyers, include the fact that Houghton is home to top schools such as Roedean, St John’s College, Sacred Heart College and King Edward VII High, and close to both the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg.
It is also just a 15-minute drive from the financial heart of the city in Sandton and the Gautrain link to OR Tambo airport, and an even shorter distance to the upscale offices, eateries and retail outlets of Rosebank. Other exclusive shopping and entertainment venues nearby include Killarney Mall, Hyde Park Corner and Melrose Arch, and the suburb has two magnificent golf courses as well as its own Virgin Active.
“This type of convenience is always in fashion,” says O’Hagan, “and it is currently actually encouraging many affluent buyers to leave the upmarket security estates on the outskirts of the city and return to heritage suburbs such as Houghton. Consequently, homes here are increasingly desirable and in short supply. Prices are rising and those who buy now will be making an astute investment.”