Young buyers pump new life into Johannesburg’s Eastern suburbs

There has been a resurgence of home-buying recently in the Eastern suburbs of Johannesburg, including Bramley, Glenhazel, Highlands North, Kew, Lombardy East, Lombardy West, Lyndhurst and Sandringham, according to Sello Matlejoane, owner of the Harcourts Central franchise that serves these areas.

This home in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg is for sale through Harcourts for R1,6m.

“By and large, these suburbs offer traditional family homes on large stands and easy access via the freeway system to workplaces in Sandton and Woodmead, and they are increasingly popular with first-time buyers in their 20s as well as young families seeking to put down roots in an established area with good schools,” he says.

“And the result is that after several years of price stability, home prices here have been moving upwards again since last year. In fact, some nodes such as Lyndhurst have already experienced quite significant capital growth.”

According to property data company Lightstone, the average price of freehold homes in Lyndhurst rose from R1,13m in 2013 to R1,21m last year and has already  jumped to R1,72m this year. In addition, the annual number of sectional title sales in the area has doubled since 2013, and the average price of these units is currently around R647 000.

The Lightstone statistics also show that while 45% of the existing homeowners in the area are over the age of 50, a whopping 71% of recent buyers have been people aged 18 to 35.

“Demand in this suburb specifically is driven by the fact that it has to date been untouched by densification and development,” says Matlejoane. “And while the prices have gone up, it still offers exceptional value for money. At the moment, for example, we have a large three-bedroom home on a 2045sqm stand available for R1,6m.

It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, two living rooms and a studio, a staff cottage, a double garage, and a beautiful garden with borehole.

“Admittedly, many of the homes need kitchen and bathroom updates, but they are solidly built and most buyers think the need for some renovation is a small price to pay for a convenient location and access to good schools such as Lyndhurst Primary and Eden College.”

As a whole, he says, the Eastern suburbs are well-served in terms of shopping centres and public transport, in the form of both Metro and Rea Vaya bus services. This makes them popular among young people new to the job market, who are able to buy their first flats in these areas at prices from around R450 000 to R550 000.

“In addition, there are many other excellent and sought-after schools in the area including Glenhazel Primary, Sandringham High, Highlands North Boys High and Waverley Girls High, and this is attracting families from many other parts of Johannesburg.”

Matlejoane says the next most popular areas after Lyndhurst are Kew, Bramley and Lombardy East and West, where the stands are around 1500sqm and home prices range from R950 000 to around R2m.

According to Lightstone, sectional title units have accounted for most sales in Kew and Lombardy West in the past year, and the average apartment price in these suburbs has risen from R478 000 to R518 000 and from R399 000 to R451 000 respectively.

In Bramley, the average freehold home price has risen from R1,3m to R1,4m since the start of this year, and in Lombardy East it has risen from around R1m to R1,1m. “And in all these suburbs, people in the 18 to 35 age group have been the biggest contingent of new buyers in the past 12 months, a fact which bodes very well for the revitalisation of this whole section of the city.”

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