Melville residential property market making a comeback

The Melville residential property market has enjoyed a sharp upswing this year with prices spiking after six years of slow recovery.

This Ideally positioned north-facing home offers three sunny bedrooms (mes), a spacious lounge and separate TV room and study. Also boasting a sparkling pool, staff accommodation and off-street parking it is on the market for R2 150 000.
In 2008 the average sale price of single title homes in this colourful suburb was R1.367 million at R2 404 per m² and, although prices remained fairly constant throughout the post credit crunch slump, by 2014 the average cost of a house had only grown to R1.403m.
However, records at the Deeds Office show a very different picture for 2015 and the average house price so far this year has increased sharply to R1.831m at R3 467 per m².
Willem Prinsloo, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty says: “Now would be the time to buy in Melville as entry level prices are nudging the lower to mid- R1m mark for a property that will most likely need considerable renovation.
“Melville’s property market has always been relatively active, and at the moment we are finding that the most popular properties are the refurbished character homes in the R1.8m to R2.5m price band which are being snapped up.”
Prinsloo adds: “At the top end of the market, around R3.5m can buy a magnificently renovated home with great features and very often some good views.
“Those investing in the mid to –upper market segment generally buy to live in the area,” says Prinsloo, “but there is a strong rental market for entry to mid-level properties because of Melville’s central location and proximity to the city as well as several prominent commercial hubs.”
According to Cornel Ridgard, Co-Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, the most sought after area is up on the ridge, particularly 5th and 6th Avenues which boast spectacular views to the north.
“On a sunny day one can see the Magaliesburg Mountains from the ridge and many homes here have been renovated accordingly, with wooden decks and generous entertainment to capitalise on the magnificent views.”
Unlike most of its neighbours, Melville has not given way to a proliferation of cluster homes and secure estates, and the bohemian enclave nestled between affluent Parktown and Westcliff and the colourful and historical suburb Sophiatown is still primarily made up of single title homes as well as the traditional semi-detached properties.
Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says: “What was once an old-fashioned suburb is now very cosmopolitan with a café society feel and village atmosphere and it’s considered by many as one of the foremost cultural hubs of Johannesburg.
“This has resulted in a colourful and eclectic demographic. Melville is very popular with the arty set and academics as well creative young professionals. And with two universities within walking distance, the suburb is always alive with young people.
“Commercially, Melville has also retained its character and rather than modern malls its streets are lined with quirky shops, cafes, restaurants and clubs, interspersed with a cultural mix of art and antique dealers, clothing and craft shops.” says Geffen.
Melville’s one concession to mall culture is its unique container shopping centre, 27Boxes which is South Africa’s first retail centre made from shipping containers and provides retail space for young artists and entrepreneurs at an affordable rental.
Steeped in history, the suburb lies at the foot of Melville Koppies, a nature reserve and Johannesburg City Heritage Site which is home to an archaeological site dated to both the Iron and Stone Ages. It is also the last conserved remnant of Johannesburg’s ridges as they were before the discovery of gold in 1886, and its geology is 3 billion years old.

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