Suburb Trend Report – Houghton Estate, Johannesburg

Area history

Home to former South African President, Nelson Mandela, Houghton Estate is an affluent suburb in Johannesburg, north east of the city centre. 

Referred to simply as Houghton, the area is informally divided by Houghton Drive into two areas, namely Upper Houghton and Lower Houghton. Aside from Nelson Mandela’s home, the hilly southern portion of the suburb in the Upper Houghton region consists of a number of Johannesburg’s historically significant homes and buildings. In fact, the area has been declared a National Heritage Area.  One of the historical buildings in the area is the King Edwards VII School, which boasts a long cultural and historical heritage that stretches over a span of more than 100 years.

The idyllic, quiet suburb developed as a residential hub during the turn of the 20th century, mostly due to the Johannesburg Consolidated Investment Company. As an historically wealthy area, the suburb consists of numerous lavish, upper-class homes, along with a few blocks of flats and office parks. Houghton is also architecturally varied with good examples of art deco buildings, particularly evident in some of the blocks of flats.

Houghton is currently experiencing vast and rapid redevelopment and expansion, especially in Lower Houghton. While many of the stands in the area have already been subdivided, there is a trend towards the development of cluster homes. Due to the positive aspects of the redevelopment and benefit to the suburb, it has been sanctioned by the City of Johannesburg’s Regional Spatial Development Framework.

The suburb is home to two golf courses, namely Houghton and Killarney and is also within proximity to a number of well-known schools and top-class amenities.

Area property information

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that property in Houghton Estate consists of around 54.24% freehold homes, 40.29% sectional title units and 5.48% estates. He notes that from 2004 to 2006 property prices in the area saw a steady but marginal increase, however, from 2007 until 2009 prices rose by much greater increments.

Goslett says that freehold property prices dipped slightly in 2010, recovered in 2011, but fell again in both 2012 and 2013. While sectional title prices also dropped in 2010, they continued to see growth until 2013. In 2014 freehold home prices saw a massive jump, with the average price at around R5.142 million. However, during the same year sectional title prices eased off, falling further again this year. So far this year the average price of a freehold home has dipped to around R3.424 million.

According to Lightstone data, the largest percentage of recent buyers in Houghton have been consumers between the ages of 36 and 49 years old, followed by those ranging between the ages of 18 and 35 years old. The age groups represent 40% and 32% of recent buyers respectively.  Consumers between the ages of 36 and 49 years old represent the highest percentage of current owners in the area (38%).  This age category, along with consumers aged between 50 and 64 years old also make up the highest percentage of recent sellers, with each age group accounting for 32% of recent sellers.

Goslett says that in 2012 property sales numbers saw massive improvements from the number of sales transactions between 2009 and 2011. The volume of property sales transactions seen from 2012 up until last year has been, on average, higher than the volumes of sales seen between 2004 and 2007, which are widely regarded as the boom years.

Demand for property

According to Goslett, about 36.99% of properties sold in Houghton between June 2014 and May 2015 were priced above R3 million. He notes that around 23.29% of properties sold were those priced between R1.5 million and R3 million, while 17.12% were priced between R400 000 and R800 000. Properties that fell within the R800 000 and R1.5 million category represented 16.44% of the area’s sales, while properties priced below R400 000 accounted for just 6.16% of property sales.

Property price trends

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