Out-think, out-market, outsell. That variation of the old Survivor catch line aptly describes the approach that the Chas Everitt Luxury Portfolio® division has taken in Johannesburg over the past few months – and that has enabled it to notch up more than R284m worth of luxury home sales in Hyde Park, Sandhurst, Melrose and other sought-after suburbs.
“One of the main reasons for our success is that we have maintained a positive attitude and refused to give in to the ‘doom and gloom’ predictions that the bottom was about to fall out of Johannesburg’s luxury real estate market,” says Luxury Portfolio CEO Rory O’Hagan.
“We have confidence that while prices will rise and fall as in all property markets, this market will in fact continue to expand, along with the number of seriously wealthy people living in SA. There are already more than 40 000 dollar millionaires here, and almost half of them live in Johannesburg, according to research by Knight Frank and New World Wealth”.
“And specifically, most of them choose to live in the suburbs around Sandton, which is the ‘Manhattan of Africa’ and an increasingly important banking and financial capital in the global context, even though our own economy is currently in the doldrums.”
That number is expected to top 52 000 by 2025, and, he notes, there are also many thousands of other South Africans – and foreigners coming into the country to do business here – who may not be dollar millionaires but who are affluent enough to afford a property in these areas, and astute enough to know that the best time to buy a bigger or better property is when the market is in a down phase.
“In other words, there is still a very large pool of potential buyers for luxury homes in Johannesburg, especially in the R10m to R15m price range, and because we understand this, we have continued to market our listings vigorously through the many excellent platforms we have both in SA and internationally through our affiliation with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World*”.
“This has been another major element of our success in the past six months, during which our sales volumes have increased substantially and sales concluded include 12 cluster homes in Hyde Park and surrounds, and numerous strategically positioned luxury apartments in areas such as Dunkeld, Hyde Park and Rosebank.”
O’Hagan says buyers are snapping up luxury apartments away from the current heavy traffic congestion and construction noise in central Sandton and Sandhurst and that this has started to lift the sale prices of such units in the most sought-after complexes.
“There is also particularly high demand now for luxury cluster homes in areas such as Hyde Park, Atholl, Inanda, Illovo, Dunkeld, Bryanston and Morningside as high-end buyers move away from the idea of owning large tracts of land and opt for homes that are still opulent but offer more security and convenience.”
Meanwhile, he says, existing home owners in these upmarket areas have become more ready to sell, and to temper their asking prices, in the months since the Cabinet reshuffle and the rating agency downgrades. “This means that there is more supply now to meet demand – and excellent value to be had. Deeds Office records show that the average house sale price in the upmarket suburbs has dropped by between 10% and 12% in the past few months (and by much more than that in Sandhurst), even though in most instances the owners are not planning to emigrate, or even to leave Johannesburg”.
“Instead they are taking a longer-term, more strategic view of future property demand around Sandton, especially with the billions of rand that continue to be poured into new blue-chip company headquarters and office developments in the precinct”.
“By far the majority are looking to sell quickly so that they can move on and pay discounted prices themselves for more expensive homes that they expect will show exceptional value growth as SA moves past the current political turmoil and as the economy recovers and expands over the next few years.”