If Sandton, the financial centre of South Africa, has been impacted by the national economic slowdown, the city appears, at least physically, to show little sign of this. In fact quite the opposite; a number of modern office blocks, hotels and mixed use spaces continue to be developed across the Sandton centre, and infrastructure upgrades are ongoing.
Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Properties group, says that the development of the Sandton city centre, and the fact that ‘Africa’s Wall Street’ remains the place in the country to do business, have assisted to provide strong support to the local economy, as well as the residential property market in the area.
“Business people from all over the world visit Sandton, which continues to be seen as a commercial, financial and business gateway to South Africa. An estimated 10 000 businesses and head offices are to be found in the centre and it is home to the busiest Gautrain station,” adds Dr Golding.
“The impressive Discovery and Old Mutual buildings are under construction, while the commissioning of the 11 storey, R2 billion Sasol headquarters building, with its 5 Star Green Star rating, commenced recently”.
“The R1.3 billion Kgoro Gateway Development, consisting of six buildings with commercial, retail and residential components, was mooted during the middle of last year. The area is seeing a great deal of development of such mixed-use precincts, Central Square near the corner of West and Rivonia streets being a further example. These initiatives speak to the considerable confidence that investors of various kinds have in the area,” points out Dr Golding.
“While there was an easing in the local Sandton residential property market in 2015, particularly at the higher end of the market, the region remains an important centre of business and commerce, and residential property within the Sandton city centre itself, as well as surrounding suburbs such as Morningside and Sandhurst, remains at a premium.”
“The recent decision by the South African Reserve Bank to keep interest rates at current levels is likely to be positive for the local residential property market and, given economic stability at the national level, we expect the Sandton property market to experience a solid first quarter in 2017.”
Pam Golding Properties regional head of Gauteng Rupert Finnemore concurs, stating that some owners of luxury apartments and penthouses, valued at R10 million or more, are adopting a more considered approach to the market, but there remains a strong demand for well placed homes offering good value between R1.7 million and R3 million.
“In addition to being the centre of business on the sub-continent, Sandton offers a range of property options and an incomparable Manhattan-style café street lifestyle. A studion apartment in Morningside can be purchased for around R1.2 million, while a top end luxury penthouse offering every modern convenience may fetch R25 million or more”.
Finnemore says that a brand new executive studio apartment can be secured at a development such as The Capital on The Park from just R1.899 million. Not surprisingly, many young executives who work in the Sandton area find such properties highly attractive. “Pam Golding Properties offers comprehensive property solutions catering to this segment of the market through to the most exclusive ‘super-luxury’ apartments in Sandton,” he adds.
“Some of the best and most exclusive shopping, entertainment and hotels in the country are located in Sandton. The area is, furthermore, situated at the very heart of Johannesburg’s north, and residential property here is always likely to be popular among those looking to be situated close to the wealthiest mile in the country in order to take advantage of the myriad facilities on offer in this mega business city.”
Within the Sandton city centre itself, the continued demand for accommodation has created a situation where densification is becoming increasingly evident, says Finnemore. This has resulted in the development of large high-rise executive apartment blocks such as Michelangelo and Sandhurst towers.
In some instances, more wealthy individuals own family properties in upmarket Gauteng suburbs or on the Atlantic Seaboard and own a second home within the Sandton city centre, which they use during the week.
“Today it is hard to imagine that Sandton with its bustling streets, towering office blocks, commercial enterprises, speedy trains and high rise buildings was once a vast open land, and that the municipality was only established in 1969,” adds Finnemore.
“We are seeing a growing demand for apartment properties enabling a highly convenient ‘live, work and play’ lifestyle. Residents want to be able to live free of concerns, and while easily taking advantage of the café street lifestyle and commercial opportunities offered within the greater Sandton area.”
“Luxury serviced apartments, offering a wealth of amenities including concierge services, air-conditioning, outstanding security, high quality fittings, fitted kitchens, basement parking, meeting rooms, high speed internet, health spas and gyms, are currently proving particularly popular”.
Finnemore says that the rental market in the Sandton/Morningside area is buoyant. This is also largely based on the demand to live in close proximity to the Sandton city centre.
“Rentals are not only popular with local executive commuters who chose to live outside of Johannesburg and work here during the week, but also with overseas business people who work in the area and appreciate its centrality. Multinational corporates seeking accommodation for their executives also provide added support to the rental market in Sandton”.
“A number of investors purchase apartments to let within the area and achieve solid returns. Levies are generally reasonable, which further adds to their appeal.”
“A Sandton address remains a prestigious one and properties here are considered an excellent investment. Indeed, the greater Sandton area remains home to some of the wealthiest individuals in South Africa. Those professionals who seek a fast-paced urban lifestyle with every amenity at hand find it a highly desirable location,” concludes Finnemore.