While densification has driven property investment in major development nodes across Johannesburg’s north for the past decade, changing buyer wish lists and pervasive economic pressure are creating new purchasing patterns and a distinctly different value perspective.
And while some suburbs that were booming through the injection of massive development capital are now feeling the pinch of expensive oversupply in what has become a buyer’s market, others that were often previously overlooked are increasingly catching investors’ attention.
“Duxberry, River Club and Morningside Ext 40 were among the boom-time “Cinderella suburbs” that are now benefitting from the market-buffering of increased investor interest”, says Sue Hall, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.
“Nodes like the Sandton CBD that enjoyed rampant development and unwavering demand in the market recovery post-2008 have taken a knock as a result of oversupply, dwindling investor appetite for high-priced property and, subsequently, diminishing return on investment”.
“The winning trifecta topping buyers’ wish lists remains security, value and location convenience, but in challenging economic times and with shrinking budgets, ticking all the boxes usually comes at a price. This is forcing cash-strapped consumers to compromise on lifestyle, which motivates them to shop around”.
“Many buyers are discovering the gems that have been hidden in plain sight with these suburbs becoming increasingly popular, especially with families seeking well-priced, secure homes without the lifestyle restrictions and premium prices of compact urban apartment living.”
Hall says that Duxberry, River Club and Morningside Ext 40 tick the prerequisite security box in no uncertain terms, offering the peace of mind afforded by boomed access with 24-hour manned security. And, having maintained their tranquil suburban atmosphere and sense of community, they also offer an appealing and increasingly rare environment in which to raise a family.
“Like everywhere else in the city sales volumes have dropped slightly across all three suburbs, but unlike many other areas where the market has gone completely flat, homes in Morningside Ext 40 and River Club, which both offer a variety of property options, have retained their value with a barely perceptible dip in the median sale price”.
“In 2016 the median house price in River Club dropped slightly to R4.2 million from R4.41m the previous year and during the same period the median price in Morningside Ext 40 decreased fractionally from R4.8m to R4.75m”.
“In Duxberry, however, the median price continued to rise by a solid 12.9% from R4.65m in 2015 to R5.25m by November last year and, interestingly, the suburb is still 100% freehold”.
“Properties surrounding the River Club Golf Course are especially sought after and command the highest prices as they overlook the pristine fairways and boast scenic greenbelt views that include dams, bridges, trees and thriving birdlife.”
“Duxberry is becoming renowned for its exceptional security, and this is a key factor in the suburb’s market strength. Boomed access points, bolstered by a dedicated on-site security manager and patrolling security vehicles, afford residents the luxury of enjoying amenities like the Duxberry Common that is well-utilised by the community for outdoor relaxation, special occasions and community events,” adds Hall.
Lightstone data further reveals that in Duxberry and Morningside Ext 40, the vast majority (around 80%) of new buyers in 2016 were in the 36 to 49 age group, while in River Club the same percentage was split almost evenly between the aforementioned bracket and investors under the age of 35.
Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says that the growing popularity of these neighbouring enclaves is underpinned by several other appealing drawcards.
“All three suburbs enjoy close proximity to the strategic commercial nodes and top retail centres in the area, yet also offer easy access to myriad recreational facilities, from safe parks and biking and hiking trails to a horse riding school and the exclusive River Club Golf Course, which is regularly rated among the top 10 in South Africa and is known to have some of the best finishing holes in the country”.
“And, cushioned by their affluent neighbours, Duxberry and River Club, especially, are largely buffered from the noise emanating from the N1 and N3 circle of major roads.”
Geffen adds that few suburbs have managed to retain the same authentic village feel, with safe clean tree-lined streets where children still play outside.
Families also have access to a number of excellent public schools, including Sandown High, Bryneven Primary School and Bryanston High School as well as private schools like Redhill, St Stithians College and Crawford College. There are also numerous preschools in the area.