A report by Private Property on real estate market activity in the first quarter of the year shows that affordability and value for money are, by and large, the factors that put some suburbs ahead of the rest. Taking into account South Africa’s six major metros, the findings also show that the best-performing regions are not necessarily the most expensive.
‘In Sandown, prices range from R8 000 for a one-bedroom flat to R50 000 for a house. Sandown is slightly lower, quieter and away from the traffic’ – Gabi Miller, Pam Golding Properties Hyde Park
Top Areas for Sales
Topping the pops in residential sales for the first quarter (Q1) of the year is Potchefstroom.
‘Of course it does!’ exclaims Santi Britz of Harcourts Potchefstroom. ‘It’s beautiful and vibrant, with art festivals, a music conservatory, a river running through it and many international residents living here. There’s a lot of development happening in Potchefstroom at the moment and there’s huge demand for property here for a number of reasons.’
Firstly, she explains, it’s affordable, and many families are choosing the larger homes, security and beauty of Potchefstroom over living in Johannesburg. ‘Many of the breadwinners join lift clubs and commute to Johannesburg daily. It takes only one and a half hours, they say, which is the time it takes from Midrand anyway.
‘In addition to this, Potchefstroom has a dynamic student population, including many foreign postgrads, and this brings a constant turnover in student accommodation in the form of flats and townhouses, which parents buy for the duration of their children’s studies. Similarly, the large population of retirees, who live in well-equipped retirement villages, adds continuous activity. We also have a great influx of professional athletes who come here for altitude training [about 1 400m above sea level] from November to March each year,’ Britz concludes.
Potchefstroom has a healthy mix of farms, apartments, townhouses and freestanding homes. Prices range from R900 000 for an older three-bedroom home to R10-million for a high-end, five-bedroom home on an estate. The cost of an average home, however, ranges from a reasonable R1,2-million to R2,5-million, while student apartments are priced from R400 000 to R1,5-million.
Theuns Kruger of TG Kruger Real Estate elaborates: ‘There are 400 estate agents in Potchefstroom. That says it all. Flats here are going for R22 000 per square metre.’ Offering security and value for money, Midstream Estate in Centurion East is second on Private Property’s list of top suburbs by sales.
‘People buy the lifestyle here before they find the house,’ says RealNet Midstream’s Madeleine Burger. She explains that Midstream is made up of a group of estates, namely Midstream, Midfield, Midlands, Midstream Ridge, Midstream Hill and Retire@Midstream, all within a boomed area. She says it offers excellent security, spacious homes, park-like surrounds, shops, a church, a choice of private schools, medical and dental services and a clinic for minor operations, as well as countless recreational amenities, including an Olympic-size swimming pool, a bowling green, a 10-hole golf course, a day spa and a gym.
With more than 5 000 homes already on the estates and more planned, Midstream, with its low levies (which include paramedic services) and prices starting from as low as R2,4-million, is highly sought after and looks set to remain so.
With the third most sales in the first quarter of 2015, Doornpoort, Northern Pretoria, also presents excellent buying opportunities. Says Pro-Namic Real Estate’s Brian Snooke, ‘Average house prices in Doornpoort are around R1,1-million and townhouses are about R890 000. Doornpoort caters for entry-level and intermediate buyers, and the selection – freestanding, complexes, security estates, farms and plots – means there is something for everyone.’
Doornpoort and the surrounding areas, such as Annlin, with its vintage look and feel and interesting surrounds, and Montana, have a slightly warmer climate than Pretoria itself and offer easy access to Pretoria North and the N1 motorway to Johannesburg. The areas are close to all important infrastructure, giving residents the best of all worlds, adds Snooke.
In the Eastern Cape, the recent addition of a wind farm and a new high school have certainly added interest to Wavecrest and to Jeffreys Bay in general. Says Chas Everitt International Property Group’s Tracy de Jager, ‘You can pick up a spacious three- or four-bedroom family home in Wavecrest for under R1-million and still be minutes from the sea,’ she says. ‘With two high schools as well as facilities for younger children, it’s not just the older buyers but young families, too, who are able to settle here, knowing they don’t have to move or commute. Property in Wavecrest, with its lovely, long seafront, and Jeffreys Bay has long been a solid investment, and with the town continuing to grow, that isn’t about to change.’
Best Areas for Rentals
On the rentals side, things are a little different, with top dollar being paid largely by international corporates for employees and their families to stay close to the heart of the business district. In Johannesburg, the three suburbs with the most residential rental listings, namely Morningside, Bryanston and Sandown, all offer proximity to the commercial and retail world of Sandton, the Gautrain and a host of excellent schools.
Corporate rentals in Morningside range from R20 000 to R60 000, says Marilyn Perkel of Pam Golding Properties (PGP) Hyde Park. ‘Close to all the headquarters, banks, businesses and shops, the area is very popular with the international community, the French school being a big plus,’ she adds. ‘Despite the many boomed areas and cluster homes, there is still a shortage of stock.’
Ranking second in rentals, Bryanston offers more of the same, but since it’s a little further afield, properties offer more value for money in the form of spacious homes and gardens. Says PGP Hyde Park’s Khanya Shipalana, ‘Bryanston has a community feel, loads of amenities, great schools and larger properties. While rentals for large houses can reach up to R100 000, your average corporate rental is R35 000, with new garden apartments available for around R28 000.’
‘In Sandown,’ adds Gabi Miller, also of PGP Hyde Park, ‘prices range from R8 000 for a one-bedroom flat to R50 000 for a house. Sandown is slightly lower, quieter and away from the traffic. It is still close to excellent schools and is very popular, but there is an oversupply of accommodation and landlords are not necessarily getting the rents they expected.’
Most Popular Areas
In terms of sheer popularity, Craigavon, Sunninghill, Douglasdale and Waterfall Estate were the best performers.
Jackie and Jürgen Schüning of Engel & Völkers Lonehill are in agreement with Cherise Ansara of Engel & Völkers Broadacres: affordable housing and fast-developing complexes with good security appeal to young families and first-time buyers. There are 80 such complexes in Sunninghill alone.
Homebuyers are looking for neighbourhoods that are relatively central and which provide good schools, a little extra space and a community atmosphere, say the agents. Properties in Douglasdale and Lonehill are more expensive, and in Waterfall Estate, lifestyle and prestige play a part in the pricing, they assert. In Craigavon and Sunninghill, however, a sectional title or freehold property can still be found for under R1-million.
Price is paramount, and with the abundance of lower-to-midmarket offerings in some parts of the country, those prepared to settle for places slightly further afield are still able to have their cake and eat it.
Meanwhile, Down in the Western Cape…
It may seem strange at first that the Western Cape has only two – extremely diverse – neighbourhoods that made the popularity rankings, namely, Woodstock and Claremont. But that’s forgetting the special logistics of Cape Town and the correspondingly higher prices. Marc Lurie of Soukop Sea Point explains, ‘Woodstock is still an affordable area that is close to the CDB and undergoing some revival. The area is popular with those who either want to own an affordable home or want to buy to let. Claremont, on the other hand, is one step away from the prestigious suburbs of Constantia and Bishopscourt, yet its offers a little more variety, at slightly lower prices, for people who have children attending the private schools in the area.’
- Private Property: privateproperty.co.za
Text: André Fiore
Photographs: Getty Images, supplied