Parktown North’s unique appeal and prime location continue to drive the market

By the end of 2017, very few housing markets remained unaffected by the mounting pressure of the prevailing economy and political climate but some fared better than others, especially sought-after, well-situated suburbs like Parktown North that tick the top boxes on buyer’s wish lists.

On the market for R9.9 million, through Sotheby's International Realty, it boasts a large open plan living area that flows out to a wrap-around verandah, pool and rustic fire pit with a library and family room upstairs.

Yael Geffen, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says that although the suburb wasn’t completely impervious to the pressures of a slowing market and flailing economy, Parktown North nonetheless proved its mettle in a tumultuous year.

“The perceptible shift to a buyer’s market and increasingly cautious investor sentiment saw the average sale price backslide from R4.59 million in 2016 to R4.007m, but these factors had far less impact on sales volumes which was bolstered by steady demand, especially in the entry and mid-markets.

“Last year, the number of property registrations slipped by just one, from 55 to 54 while the lowest sale price realised in 2016 almost doubled last year, from R1.15m to R2.2m in 2017 and, although the upper end of the market was hardest hit, it still managed to edge the highest 2016 sale price up by R100 000 from R9.4m to R9.5m.”

Geffen adds that the sectional title market in Parktown North also fared respectively despite a marked decline at the upper end of this sector.

“Thirteen sectional title properties changed hands in 2016 and in 2017 but, at R2.68m, the highest sale price fell by almost 42% from R4.6m achieved the year before. However, the more robust entry and middle sectors elevated the median apartment price from R1.35m to R1.8m, bumping up the lowest sales price from R850 000 to R900 000.”

David and Theodora Brickhill, veteran Area Specialists for the group attribute this emerging sector’s resilience to a number of key factors, including the suburb’s convenient location and the accessible pricing of apartments in an upmarket suburb that is still dominated by expansive freehold homes.

“A decade ago, the majority of Parktown North’s residents were aged 50 years or older but this has changed exponentially in recent years with young professionals and families with school-age children now accounting for more than half of all recent purchase. At the same time, while a similar percentage of all recent sellers were in the 50-plus age group.”

The changing resident demographic has also steadily transformed one of Johannesburg’s oldest suburbs from a strictly residential enclave into a vibey, cosmopolitan suburb that is home to acclaimed restaurants, popular cafes, interesting shops and galleries, especially along bustling 7th Avenue.

“Younger buyers have become increasingly aware of Parktown North’s unique set of drawcards that ticks many of the boxes that top of most buyers wish lists. We have also been fielding a growing number of enquiries from empty-nesters looking to downscale after living in suburbs like Sandhurst and Westcliff for decades as Parktown North is within close proximity of all their familiar amenities.

“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, the university the main northern nodes like Randburg and Rosebank.

Another strong appeal factor is the excellent security afforded by the Parktown North Security Scheme, operated by the Parktown North Residents Association, which includes public space patrolling, armed response and numerous manned security huts.

According to Chairperson of the Parktown North Resident’s Association, Lee-Ann Louverdis, the association is active in all areas that affect the amenity of the suburb.  They are engaged in beautification and cleaning operations, have key collaborative projects with the City of Johannesburg, and were instrumental in the installation of a fibre network throughout the neighbourhood. 

“Residents enjoy the many advantages of being part of a community in action and it’s one of the key attractions for many buyers.”

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.

But the key factor underpinning these compelling attributes is the simple fact that, ultimately, residential property in Parktown North has proven to be a consistently solid investment over the years.

“In 1998, the erstwhile financial journal, F&T Weekly, listed Parktown North as one of South Africa’s best suburbs,” say the Brickhills, “and at the time houses cost between R400 000 and R650 000.

“Exactly 20 years later, property here have increased by around 900% with current price band of R4m to R6.5m average price band of R4m to R6.5m which translates to an impressive nominal year-on-year value increase of around 45% - an excellent return on investment in anyone’s book.”

“Significant market shifts and rampant commercial and sectional title development over the past two decades have completely altered not only the property landscape of many Johannesburg suburbs but also their character, obliterating their original essence, says Geffen.

“However, despite Parktown North’s evolution from a tranquil residential enclave to a vibrant mixed-use node, the suburb’s unique appeal is that has largely retained its warm village atmosphere and sense of community in the heart of a rapidly densifying city.”

“The Parktown North Residents’ Association is heartened to see contemporary homes springing up beside well-established colonial-style homes for which the suburb is well-known as this is testament to the neighbourhood’s ability to embrace urban change while still paying homage to its rich history,” says Louverdis.

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