RE/MAX Suburb Trend Report – Houghton Estate, Johannesburg

Area history

Home to former South African President, Nelson Mandela, Houghton Estate is an affluent suburb in Johannesburg, north east of the city centre. Referred to simply as Houghton, the area is informally divided by Houghton Drive into two areas, namely Upper Houghton and Lower Houghton. Aside from Nelson Mandela’s home, the hilly southern portion of the suburb in the Upper Houghton region consists of a number of Johannesburg’s historically significant homes and buildings. In fact, the area has been declared a National Heritage Area.  One of the historical buildings in the area is the King Edwards VII School, which boasts a long cultural and historical heritage that stretches over a span of more than 100 years.

The idyllic, quiet suburb developed as a residential hub during the turn of the 20th century, mostly due to the Johannesburg Consolidated Investment Company. As a historically wealthy area, the suburb consists of numerous lavish upper-class homes, along with a few blocks of flats and office parks. The suburb is architecturally varied with good examples of art deco building, particularly evident in some of the blocks of flats.

Houghton is currently experiencing vast and rapid redevelopment and expansion, especially in Lower Houghton. While many of the stands in the area have already been subdivided, there is a trend towards the development of cluster homes. Due to the positive aspects of the redevelopment and benefit to the suburb, it has been sanctioned by the City of Johannesburg’s Regional Spatial Development Framework.

The suburb is home to two golf courses, namely Houghton and Killarney and is also within proximity to a number of well-known schools and top-class amenities.

Area property information

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that property in Houghton Estate consists of around 56.68% freestanding homes, 38.61% sectional title units and 4.71% estates. He notes that from 2004 to 2006 property prices in the area saw a steady but marginal increase, however, from 2007 until 2009 prices rose by much greater increments.

House for sale in Houghton

Goslett says that prices dipped slightly in 2010, but recovered in 2011 with the price of a freestanding home hitting a record high of R4.602 million. The average price of a sectional title unit was around R900 000 at the time. In 2012 prices saw another dip, with the average price of a freestanding home dropping to around R4.110 million and a sectional title unit costing approximately R894 000. Although freestanding home prices have remained stable this year, the average price of a sectional title unit has seen an increase and is currently around R1.158 million.

According to Lightstone data, the demographic on recent buyers within Houghton is fairly evenly distributed between the various age groups with about 35% of buyers aged between 50 and 64 years old, 30.57% aged between 36 and 49 years old and 27.55% under the age of 35 years old. Currently the highest number of homeowners in the suburb is those between the ages of 36 and 49 years old (37.48%).

House for sale in Houghton

Goslett says that while the majority of the sales in the area from 2004 to 2007 were freestanding properties, sectional title units became more popular during 2008, outselling freestanding homes ever since. He notes that while the number of transactions saw a decrease during 2009, the property market in the area has since improved with around 145 properties sold on average per year.

Property price trends

Demand for property

According to Goslett, about 31.2% of properties sold in Houghton between July 2012 and June 2013 were priced above R3 million. He notes that around 24.1% of properties sold were those priced between R400 000 and R800 000, while 22.1% were priced between R800 000 and R1.5 million. Properties that fell within the R1.5 million to R3 million category represented 20.8% of the area’s sales.

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