Sandton - clusters in high demand

The trend towards ultra-modern clusters with vast expanses of glass letting in natural light and sun is growing.  The indoor/outdoor lifestyle overlooking a sparkling swimming pool is undoubtedly conducive to the South African climate and ideal for entertaining.

“When clusters were first introduced they were intended for empty-nesters who preferred the lock-up-and-go lifestyle. Today they are for everybody - young, old, families and singles. The more exclusive cluster developments offer a safe haven for family living. Many of the more recent estates offer large stands to accommodate children and give a feeling of space around the home. Both Morningside and Riverclub have a wide selection of this type of accommodation,” says  Andrew Birbeck Jawitz Properties’ Sandton branch manager.

Despite what the pundits say about a stagnant property market, Jawitz Properties’ award winning agent for Morningside, Norma Robinson, is not experiencing poor demand.  In fact since mid-January, she has sold a total of R36.5-million clusters. She puts it down to the South African economy being relatively stable compared to the rest of the world.  “Interest rates have remained the same, and those who were holding on to their homes hoping for their asking price, have finally relented and eventually sold at what the market dictates,” she says.

Robinson, who specializes in the Morningside, Riverclub, Sandown, Benmore Gardens area, concentrates on clusters and houses in Morningside, is not a great believer in using a primary residence for rental.  Sellers persist in thinking that their home is worth more than it is and are determined to sit it out by leasing, hoping the economy will pick up. “The reality is that Morningside homes are exclusive and luxurious and by and large tenants do not care adequately for the property. Homeowners who have gone this route have not ultimately achieve their selling price.  In the end, renting a primary residence is not a sound investment.

“Property remains a long term investment. Those who bought in the last five years, are unlikely to make a profit.  You’ll get back what you paid. If you’re fortunate, you’ll get back either the commission or the transfer duty, and if you’re really lucky you’ll get back both. But generally not.  A home is no longer an investment in the true sense of the word. So buyers should be cautious in expecting a profit within a particular timeframe,” she says.
There’s no doubt that clusters in the Sandton will continue to gain in popularity.  The demand is driven by the close proximity to the Sandton CBD, near religious institutions, schools and highways.  Those who bought farther north in pursuit of a better quality lifestyle have started to return to Sandton to be closer to work and avoid hours wasted in rush-hour traffic. E-tolling and the escalating petrol price are going to be further disincentives for moving out of the CBD.
“Unlike other suburbs, prices in Morningside and surrounds will increase - simply because land is not a renewable resource and there’s a scarcity of available land for development,” says Robinson.

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