Sectional title prices on the rise in Pretoria's New East

Equestria, once a distinctly “mink and manure” collection of smallholdings, stables and nurseries on the outskirts of Pretoria, is now one of the city’s most densely populated suburbs, thanks to extensive development over the past few years.

“People used to move here to enjoy a ‘country’ lifestyle,” says Anne Rich, the Rawson Property Group franchisee in Equestria, “but as the city expanded and the whole area around the Silver Lakes Golf Estate became increasingly fashionable, developers saw the opportunity to open it up to younger buyers by building more affordable homes on the smallholdings here.” 

“The area was also ideally located with regard to new freeways and other major arterials as well as existing schools, and as new shopping malls like The Grove and commercial centres started to go up all along Lynnwood Road, which is the main route between Silver Lakes and the city centre, it quickly became a really aspirational area for young execs and professionals.”

In response to this growing demand, she says, there has been massive development of new sectional title and cluster home complexes over the past 10 years - and thanks to further huge commercial and residential developments between Silver Lakes and Equestria, as well as the incorporation of Kungwini into the Tshwane metro, the suburb is no longer on the edge of the city.

But there is still no shortage of buyers. Indeed, according to property data company Lightstone, more than 530 sectional title sales have been registered in Equestria in the past 12 months, at an average sale price of R1 million. There have also been 250 sales of freehold stands and cluster homes in secure estates, with the homes selling for an average of around R1,85 million.

However, Rich says, the affordability of the suburb may now be under threat because the pace of new development has slowed down and prices are rising as demand starts to exceed supply. “The highest demand here is for homes in the R1 million to R1,3 million price range, but most properties for sale in the area currently are priced at R1,6 million and more, and sellers are becoming much less willing to negotiate.”

Meanwhile, the ongoing roadworks on Lynnwood Road and around the Simon Vermooten Road offramp from the N4 freeway and the resulting traffic congestion have prompted some young buyers to consider other areas that are closer to the CBD and where there is also a considerable amount of new development.

These include Lynnwood Ridge, where 47% of the housing stock consists of sectional title apartments and townhouses, and the average price of such units currently is around R995 000.

This area boasts several shopping centres such as Lynnridge Mall, the Gift Acres centre next to a new security estate, and the Glen Gables centre. An established area with leafy streets and large gardens, it is also popular with families as it has its own primary school and is close to private and public high schools such as St Alban’s College, Die Wilgers Hoër and the German School.

The Life Wilgers private hospital is also nearby on Lynnwood Road, as is the Lynnwood Bridge centre housing several top restaurants, the Atterbury Theatre and an office park.  

According to Lightstone, the average price of freehold homes sold in Lynnwood Ridge over the past 12 months was R2 million, while the prices of such homes currently advertised for sale in the area range from R1,8 million for a three-bedroom cluster to about R3 million for a four bedroom home. Newly-built homes in the Gift Acres estate are priced at up to about R4 million.

Among younger buyers still in search of the lock-up-and-go lifestyle, though, the area in most demand at the moment is Faerie Glen, just on the other side of the hill that gives Lynnwood Ridge its name. Here, says Rawson Property Group franchisee Bertie Lombard, there is currently massive demand all the way up to R2,5m – “and anything in the R600 000 to R1,5 million range is currently selling virtually immediately”.

Faerie Glen, which has a large number of extensions, is linked to the Pretoria CBD, the N1 freeway and the suburbs of the “Old East” by Atterbury Road, and lies just to the east of the rapidly expanding Menlyn commercial node and the multimillion-rand Menlyn Maine development.   

Living here, residents have easy access to the Menlyn mall and entertainment centre, Menlyn Retail Park, Atterbury Value Mart, a Pick ‘n Pay Hypermarket, Life Faerie Glen private hospital and many other amenities.

Faerie Glen is now right at the heart of the metro’s continuing ‘New East’ expansion zone and is the ideal location for those working in one of the many new commercial or retail developments nearby, which is why demand has exploded recently,” says Lombard. “And with more than 60% of its housing stock in sectional title complexes, it is a good choice for career singles and young marrieds – although prices are starting to rise quickly now as demand is running well ahead of supply.”

According to Lightstone, more than 300 sectional title sales have been registered in Faerie Glen in the past 12 months, at an average price of R1,1 million. However the number of sales seems set to drop this year due to a lack of stock, even though the average price has already risen by around R60 000 since the end of 2014.

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