Historical charm of Parktown North attracts new investors

The residential landscape in most of Johannesburg’s suburbs has changed significantly over the past decade, with burgeoning sectional title properties now often outnumbering freestanding homes, yet the sought-after suburb of Parktown North has retained much of its original character and charm of yesteryear.

This cosy two bedroom, two bathroom home offers relaxed country living within the heart of the city. The living area boasts a traditional stone fireplace and the house also has a separate laundry, an open plan guest cottage and a double garage with ample extra parking at an accessible R3.7 million.

David Brickhill, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says: “Around 90% of the properties in the suburb are still freehold and there are comparatively very few security estates and modern cluster developments, with many of these only built in the last five years. There are also no developments on the horizon at the moment due to the lack of available land.”

Parktown North is one of the oldest residential areas in the Northern Suburbs and it still boasts many of the old colonial-style houses which add to the charming village atmosphere which makes the suburb so appealing.”

However, in spite of its limited sectional title options, Parktown North still offers investors a variety of property options and the well-established suburb is now attracting buyers from across the demographic spectrum.

Says Brickhill: “At the entry level, R3.5 million will buy a small family home on a modest erf that will require a little TLC and modernisation, while at the top end of the market investors can expect to pay around R9m for a brand new home in a secure cluster development or a renovated freestanding house on a generous erf.

“Most in demand,” adds Brickhill, “are renovated three to four bedroom properties in the R4.5m to R7m price band.”

 Although Parktown North is now popular with investors from all walks of life, from single professionals and young couples with school-going children to established families and retirees, the most noticeable demographic shift has been in the age of new buyers. 

Theodora Brickhill, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says: “A decade ago, the majority of Parktown North residents were in the 50 to 75 age group but this has changed in recent years and young professionals between 30 and 40 years of age now make up a significant percentage of new investors.

“What has remained constant is the fact that investors buy property in Parktown North to live in the area, so there is usually a shortage of good rental stock and correctly priced homes are snapped up when they do come on the market.”

According to Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, the growing investor interest in Parktown North has resulted in a steady market which has grown consistently during the last six years.

“According to registered sales at the Deeds Office, 66 properties were sold in 2009 to a combined value of just under R200m at an average sale price of R2.99m, and a steady year-on-year price increase saw 72 properties change hands in 2014 to the value R350.5m with the median sale price peaking at just over R4.5m.

Geffen attributes the increased popularity of Parktown North and the rise in property prices to several key factors.

“Parktown North is not only ideally situated in the heart of the Northern Suburbs, it’s also only a stone’s throw from Jan Smuts Avenue which links residents to the city centre and the university as well other northern areas like Randburg and Rosebank. The introduction of the Gautrain, upgrades to the Rosebank Mall and the completion of the new Standard Bank head office have also contributed to the suburbs increased desirability.”

Geffen adds: “Investors are also drawn by the security Parktown North offers as not only are there manned security huts on many streets, but there are also CCV cameras throughout the suburb. In addition to this, Parktown North is one of the first suburbs in Johannesburg to receive fibre optic cabling which allows residents to enjoy superior high speed connectivity.

“Another appeal factor is the quiet suburban atmosphere as there has also been relatively little commercial development in the suburb, although Parktown North is a popular dining out destination for Johannesburg residents, especially 7th Avenue which is home to many of the area’s top restaurants.”

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