Jo’burg’s healthy residential market increases demand for prime development land

Development sites in suburbs such as Rivonia in the north of Johannesburg will become increasingly scarce since the area has been earmarked for high density development according to the regional spatial development framework. And those that go to market with zoning rights already in place are the cream of the crop.

Property speculators have their eyes firmly on the prize of prime high-density residential development land in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs as Sandton entrenches itself as the business powerhouse of South Africa.

That’s according to James Dall, joint managing director of High Street Auctions, who observes that suburbs within a short commuter hop of Sandton have in recent months shown a notable revival in market activity, despite the country’s prevailing macro-economic doldrums.

“Sandton’s status of financial and corporate hub has to a large extent cushioned the sectional title markets in the surrounding suburbs. Demand for these more affordable homes, relative to the cost of freehold properties in the north of Johannesburg, has not wavered in spite of weaker overall buyer sentiment in the first two quarters of 2017.”

According to FNB’s latest House Price Barometer published this month, Gauteng’s three metros have the lowest average time of homes on the market, thus being arguably the most “price realistic”, or closest to market equilibrium, of the major metro housing markets.

“The period of market correction earlier in the year naturally made developers more discriminating when choosing locations because of the sizeable investment required for new builds, but prime sites will always appeal to savvy buyers. The current market momentum makes premier locations such as Rivonia even more attractive, especially if zoning has already been approved.”

Lance Chalwin Milton, Dall’s counterpart at the helm of High Street Auctions, says two properties in particular will attract strong bidder interest in the company’s next multi-property auction.

The first is in Homestead Road, Rivonia, just one block back from the main arterial of Rivonia Road, and the other in Rietfontein Road, which runs just behind and parallel to Homestead Road.

Says Chalwin Milton: “Rivonia is set to become northern Johannesburg’s new high-density node, as the western side of the suburb has been earmarked for high density development according to the area’s regional spatial development framework.

“Over the past three years a new residential hub has been created on the western side of Rivonia Road and numerous high- and medium-density clusters and apartments have been developed from 7th Avenue to 12th Avenue.”

He says the 3 965m² Homestead Road site has been levelled for construction. There are plans for an 80-unit development comprising basement parking and four storeys of apartments.

“The apartments range in size from 47.7m² to 70.9m² and offer either one bedroom, one bathroom options or two bedroom, two bathroom options. The permissible bulk amounts to 5 947.5m² while the current plans utilise 5 090.8m² of bulk.

“The Rietfontein Road site, on the other hand, offers the opportunity for a developer to build 11 luxury cluster units on subdivided freehold title stands, all with high-end finishes. Each unit leads onto a swimming pool, a double garage and staff quarters, all framed by manicured gardens.

“Development sites like these are becoming increasingly scarce as the area densifies and the time for smart speculators to get into the market is now.”

Dall concludes: “The mantra is as always location, location, location and the area’s positioning within the inner circle of the N1 Western Bypass is one of the main reasons for its popularity. The demand for Rivonia property is mainly due to the suburb’s positioning close to the Sandton CBD, major highways and public transport infrastructure such as the Gautrain, as well as other amenities including shopping centres and schools.”

The next High Street Auctions sale takes place at Summer Place in Hyde Park from noon on November 1. Pre-registration with FICA documents is essential to participate in the auction.

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