Rare find

Aug 23, 2017 | News, Slider

If your clients can’t justify paying a premium to live in a top suburb, which Gauteng alternatives offer solid homes with growth potential?

With the South African economy as sluggish as ever, finding an affordable residential property is becoming more of a challenge. Interest rates remain high and banks are sticking to their strict lending criteria. It is particularly tough for firsttime buyers looking to invest in a property in a reputable area with potential for high growth in value. But existing home owners whose families are growing are also finding it challenging to find bigger spaces without overextending themselves financially. There are, however, good value suburbs in Johannesburg and Pretoria that offer affordable alternatives to the more sought-after neighbourhoods. Trish Luthuli, deputy branch manager for Pam Golding Properties Northcliff, says Ferndale stands out as one of the more affordable locations, which is appealing because it is equidistant to Sandton and Fourways. It is a cheaper alternative to Bryanston and Douglasdale for buyers looking to be close to these more affluent areas. Ferndale is prime for first-time property owners, with 55% of buyers between the ages of 18 and 35. It is also close to Randburg, a central transport node in Johannesburg, allowing for easier access to public transport.


Says Luthuli: “If you’re after an apartment in Ferndale, you’re looking at a range of about R500,000 for a one-bedroom apartment. In Bryanston, the cheapest you would get for the same size, which is about 50m2, would be about R700,000, if not more. Douglasdale would be cheaper but still more expensive at about R580,000.” The same is true for vacant land for sale, she says: “Right now, the cheapest plot costs R1.5m for a 900m2 piece of land while in Ferndale, the cheapest vacant plot is R400,000 for an 800m2 piece.” Brackendowns, followed by Bryanston, are the most-moved-into suburbs in Johannesburg since the beginning of 2016, according to property information provider Lightstone. This is for homes valued between R1m and R2m. The popularity of Brackendowns is consistent with the rise of the property market in Johannesburg South. Deseree Hauser, principal of Pam Golding Properties for Johannesburg South, says it is because there are many communities moving out of townships to what they feel are more affluent areas. With about 40% of the population of greater Johannesburg living in Soweto, this translates into a huge number of people looking for housing.


Says Hauser: “A lot of people in Soweto are moving into Naturena in Mondeor. Those in Lenasia are also moving to the south. There is a lot of development in these areas, where there are decent houses going for about R800,000. It’s being driven primarily by demand for schools as well a big rental market this side of Johannesburg.” Gerhard Kotzé, MD of estate agency group RealNet, says Westdene, Edenvale and Rivonia are the best-value areas in Johannesburg for those looking for alternatives to more well-known or affluent areas. He says the average house price in Westdene, for example, is just more than R1.2m compared with R1.55m in neighbouring Melville, which is better known and more sought after. “What is more, there are still some excellent finds in Westdene for under R1m for buyers keen on older homes that are worth renovating,” says Kotzé. “And living in Westdene gives you virtually the same access to all the benefits of living in Melville – proximity to the University of Johannesburg and Wits campuses, the good schools in the area, public transport, workplaces in Auckland Park, Parktown, Braamfontein and the city, and excellent shopping facilities in Melville and at Cresta.”


“Menlo Park has been a popular choice for many buyers because it is welllocated with regard to schools and the university campus, and is part of the sought-after ‘Old East’ of Pretoria” – Gerhard Kotzé, MD, RealNet


Similarly, Edenvale is a good choice for those who would like to live in Bedfordview but cannot aff ord it. He says the average price in Edenvale is just less than R1.7m at the moment, compared with almost R3.5m in Bedfordview. Edenvale is also close to the excellent schools in Bedfordview, as well as OR Tambo International Airport, Eastgate Shopping Centre and the freeway system linking all corners of greater Johannesburg. Says Kotzé: “For those who are keen on apartment living close to the fi nancial heart of the city, Rivonia is a much more aff ordable option than Sandhurst, the suburb closest to the Sandton business centre. The average apartment price in Rivonia is about R1.25m, while that in Sandhurst is currently around R2m. Rivonia is also on a Gautrain bus route and there has been major new development in recent years, not only of new apartment blocks but of shopping and entertainment facilities right on the doorstep of new residents.”


In Pretoria, Menlyn is a major new development node. Menlyn Park Shopping Centre has undergone a multibillion-rand redevelopment and work on Menlyn Maine precinct is underway. This includes a new casino and hotel, as well as a new retail centre and several new highrise office blocks. Says Kotzé: “There is thus rapidly rising demand for all sorts of accommodation in the surrounding suburbs. Menlo Park has been a popular choice for many buyers because it is well-located with regard to schools and the university campus, and is part of the sought-after ld East’ of Pretoria.” However, the average price in Menlo Park is about R2.65m compared with R1.65m in Garsfontein, the suburb just on the other side of Menlyn Maine, a vibrant new city centre burgeoning with new developments such as the fi ve-star hotel and casino being built by Sun International.


Menlyn Maine has been touted as Africa’s first green city. The mega development will include commercial and retail space, a gym, ats, an entertainment complex and scenic parklands. Living in Garsfontein gives residents access to all this, as well as close proximity to excellent schools. In general, it has more modern homes than Menlo Park. This is supported by data from Lightstone, which show Faerie Glen and Moreleta Park, alongside Garsfontein, as the most-movedinto surburbs in 2016 and 2017 for homes in the R1m to R2m range. “Pretoria East has always been a nice area. But with all the new developments, it’s easier to sell and the rental market is picking up quite well,” says REMAX estate agent Burnedette Durr. “These areas are popular because they are close to all sorts of amenities, whether schools, hospitals or small shopping complexes.” Kotzé says buyers looking for character homes with wooden oors, pressed-steel ceilings and stained-glass windows would do well to focus on Rietondale, which is about the same distance from the Pretoria city centre as the better-known Brooklyn, but a lot more affordable.

Words: Sungula Nkabinde