Roodepoort, a great neighbourhood to buy in

Roodepoort is a city with a long history; although it only officially became a city in 1977 it can trace its origins back as far as 1904, when it was settled by those joining the gold rush. Although the Confidence Reef, which was located in the centre of Roodepoort, didn’t live up to expectations the little town survived and today its home to just over 200,000 people.

As the CBD of Johannesburg expands more and more, areas around it have seen increased demands for housing, areas such as Ruimsig, Honeydew and Midrand. Roodepoort has long benefitted from the construction of townhouse complexes and estates such as Featherbrooke Estate and Ruimsig Country Estate to accommodate commuters. Today it offers a combination of freehold and sectional title properties to suit a variety of tastes and pockets.

One of the biggest advantages of buying in the area is the availability of freehold properties; according to Lightstone almost 80% of homes in the area are free standing and come with an average price tag of about R850,000. These factors have made Roodepoort a favourite of young to middle aged couples; around 40% of recent buyers are between the ages of 18 and 35 whilst almost 40% of current owners are between the ages of 36 and 49. As such the community is fairly young and the suburb of Weltevreden Park, in particular, is often referred to as “Nappy Valley” due to the amount of young families who have settled there.

Johan van Schalkwyk, Principal of Leapfrog Roodepoort, notes that; “we have also noticed a change in the market for neighbourhoods such as Constantia Kloof and Helderkruin where properties were not selling very often. Now, however, we find that people are downgrading because of their children leaving home and they want smaller properties. In return, the buyers of the larger homes are second time buyers with young children wanting to move closer to the excellent schools in the area”.

A quick count reveals over forty primary and high schools – amongst them the prestigious Trinity and Charter House Preparatory. The region also caters for students with Monash University, UNISA and it is within driving distance of the University of Johannesburg.

A drive along Hendrik Potgieter will reveal how many sectional title complexes have sprung up in the area over the past few years and, there’s good news for interested buyers: Lightstone indicates that the average price per unit stands at R650, 000.

“We’ve seen 9 plus new developments being erected since the beginning of the year with a lot of activity in and around the Wilgeheuwel and Honeydew area. These areas provide a number entry-level sectional title homes which offer the feeling of a home, and although smaller they offer 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and double garages with private gardens and are pet friendly”, says Johan.

For those who prefer the safety offered by a secure complex but, who want more space there are a myriad of secure estates to select from such as Featherbrooke Estate and the Ruimsig Country Estate (just off the Hendrik Potgieter Road and the N14). According to van Schalkwyk there are also a few new estates but the stand sales have not been as active as expected. “We think that the estates are still feeling the effects of the recession. Another factor is also the banks’ their strict lending criteria for land and building packages”.

Roodepoort not only has a plethora of housing and good schools to choose from, the area has a number of shopping centres and hospitals. It is also home to the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Cradle of Humankind where one can explore the Sterkfontein Caves. Another favourite attraction is the Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden with the only known pair of breeding Black Eagles in an urban area. The garden is ranked as the second best in the world by the Huffington Post.

The only downside to living in Roodepoort is the traffic, if you need to commute. Johan believes that: “our roads are deteriorating more rapidly as I think the roads were not designed to handle the traffic passing on a daily basis. Another 2 large shopping centres are being built along Hendrik Potgieter Road increasing the number of shopping centres to 8 shopping centres along this road. In addition this road is also a main road linking Roodepoort, Krugersdorp and Randfontein to the N1 highway for people working in areas such as Randburg, Sandton, Johanneburg, Midrand, Eastrand and Alberton”. Whilst council works out solutions to these problems the area offers so many plusses that planning an extra 30 minutes in the car seems like a reasonable compromise for living in comfort.

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