Property in “The Parks” proving popular

Prospects for the property market in the northern suburbs are looking up particularly in suburbs such as Parkhurst, Parktown North, Parkview and Dunkeld West (The Parks).  

On the whole, these areas have held their own through the recession and are showing steady growth.

The Deeds Office reports a 12% increase in registered deals year on year. Supply and demand always plays a role in pricing as well as external factors such as the bank lending criteria and the economy.

The demand is fuelled by those wanting to upscale to another suburb in the Parks and who  have grown accustomed to the lifestyle; expats returning from overseas and those who have become used to what the ‘Parks’ offer, made friends and don’t wish to go further afield.  Then there are those who enjoy the village-type lifestyle, yet prefer to be near large shopping centres and schools and in easy reach of trendy restaurants and coffee shops.

While demand currently outstrips the supply, Lester attributes this temporary limited stock to the winter months when sellers tend to wait for warmer weather when gardens and homes are at their best before bringing their properties to market.

Parkhurst is the area of preference for work-from-home professionals, entrepreneurs, singles and newly marrieds who like to lock-up-and-go.  As circumstances change and families grow, the next step is usually to Parktown North or Parkview where the grounds are larger.  Many like to get a foot in the door by investing in a little ‘oldie’ and renovating.

However, Parkview is now as expensive as Parktown North used to be. Parktown North was always a bit more expensive because of the slightly bigger stands and renovated homes. Now Parkview has caught up. The idea of designing and rebuilding appeals to many buyers and there is value to be found in a newly renovated house provided it was completed a year to two ago. But these days, building costs are expensive, particularly in changing the footprint of the house.  Some architects are even quoting a minimum of R1.5/R2m for renovations.

Currently buyers are keeping alterations to a minimum by simply replacing window frames and doors, adding sliders, or stacking glass doors. Some of the older houses in Parkview have been declared heritage properties which prohibit them from being demolished and there are strict limitations as to the type of renovations that are allowed.

Most of the properties are classified as stand-alone. Clusters are highly sought-after but availability is limited due to the lack of vacant land available for development. Those that do exist, range in price from between R4m and R8m for three to four bedrooms.

“Typically, sellers always push for top prices and buyers are continually looking for bargains, but these days they are far more realistic and open to negotiation,” says Lester Schalit Jawitz Properties’ Parks agent, adding that the company is experiencing significant demand for houses, which are reportedly sold within a couple of weeks of listing, provided prices are market related.

“Currently, the market is well balanced and sellers have to face the reality of the banks’ lending criteria. Having said that, so far, all our bond applications have been accepted, but admittedly they were accompanied by deposits. A significant number of clients pay cash,” he says.

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