RE/MAX Suburb Trend Report – Irene

Area history

Located south of Pretoria is the serene country village of Irene, an area that is more reminiscent of the English countryside than a halfway stop between Gauteng’s two major cities. The discovery of stone arrowheads and tools in the Hennops River serve as proof that people have been living in the area for many years.

During the 1830s, a Boer Voortrekker named Daniel Elardus Eramus settled in the region and built a farm that would become known as Doornkloof. The farm was inherited by his three sons on his death in 1875. In 1889, a large percentage of the farm was sold to Alois Hugo Nellmapius, a well-known businessman with various business interests. Nellmapius renamed the farm Irene, after his daughter. The Irene Estate was purchased by Johannes Albertus van der Byl in 1895 and in 1902 he proclaimed the region a township. The van der Byl family still live in the area to this day.

The area is saturated with South African history and is the place that General Jan Smuts called home for over 40 years. The house of the former statesman now serves as a museum to the public and illustrates the lifestyle and career of one of South Africa’s prominent historical figures.  General Jan Smuts first moved to the area in 1908 when he purchased part of the original Doornkloof farm. After his death in 1950, his ashes were scattered on what is now known as Smuts Koppie.

Irene was also the site of one of forty concentration camps used by the British to house Boer women and children during the Second Anglo-Boer War. Over 1 200 people lost their lives while at the Irene Camp. Today, a memorial now stands in the area to honour them.

Area property information

An interesting fact about the property market in Irene is that during 2012 there were no buyers older than 64 years old, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. He notes that the over 61% of recent buyers in the area were between 36 and 49 years of age, while over 33% were younger than 35 years old. Around 43% of recent sellers were also between 36 and 49 years of age, with over 37% ranging in age from 50 to 64 years old.

According to Lightstone, a property statistics and information provider, over 82% of the property in Irene is made up of estate homes, while 13% is freestanding homes and only 4.5% is sectional title units. While the prices of property in the area showed a marginal decrease during 2009, current pricing is approximately 14% higher than the prices seen during 2007, which is widely regarded as the height of the property boom.

Property price trends

Demand for property

Goslett says that 75% of all property sold in Irene was priced between R1.5 million and R3 million, making this the most popular price range in the area by far. Approximately 7.5% of homes sold between January 2012 and December 2012 were above the R3 million mark, while 15% fell within the R800 000 to R1.5 million category. He notes that area’s location, secure estates and tranquil lifestyle offering continue to boost demand for property and attract a variety of property investors looking for a country village setting.

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