Emmarentia - Johannesburg’s green heart

Situated in the heart of Johannesburg’s northern suburbs is the beautiful, leafy and established suburb of Emmarentia, which is known as the green heart of the city. 

Characterised by tree-lined avenues, the area is considered to be a green belt through the metropolitan hub of Johannesburg with green area attractions including the Emmarentia Dam, Johannesburg’s Botanical Gardens and the Melville Koppies.

“It is this unique setting in the heart of the city that has continued to draw buyers to this highly sought-after area,” says Nils Hannemann, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Central, whose office services the greater Johannesburg areas. “Very few places have the amount of outdoor recreation facilities that Emmarentia does, while still being situated within proximity to the Johannesburg’s financial hubs. It is the perfect location for homeowners who want to have the outdoors at their doorstep, while still enjoying the convenience that living within an urban environment provides.”

The area’s history dates back to 1886, when, as according to the Emmarentia Residents Association, Lourens Geldenhuys bought part of the farm Braamfontein. The farm was expansive, originally stretching from Victory Park to Rosebank in the north, Killarney down to Commissioner Street in the east, Mayfair and Coronationville in the southwest and up to the base of Northcliff ridge. It is said that Lourens had three sons, two of whom - Frans and Louw - built farmhouses in the Emmarentia area.

In 1891 Frans and Louw registered the subdivision of their farms, the boundary being Orange Road. Louw married Emmarentia Margaretha Botha and their farmhouse still stands in Greenhill Road. The original building was erected in 1887 and in 1902 the house was considerably extended and given decorative Victorian architectural features. It remains one of the oldest surviving dwellings in Johannesburg and was declared a National Monument in May 1986.

?This historical home is currently on the market in Emmarentia

Such a historical suburb has many historical properties, one of which is an unusual ‘A–frame’, thatch home located on a 2000m2 stand. This heritage home has just come onto the market for R2.8 million through RE/MAX Central.

RE/MAX Central Emmarentia area specialists Ahmed Moosa and Rasheed Hoosen, who are marketing this property, note that this home was originally featured the February 1951 issue of Architect and Builder – a monthly journal for the building world at the time. Here it was described as a curiosity, with its design ‘unconventional’, mainly due to the fact that the steep pitch of the roof was more suited to climes that experienced heavy snowfall.

Designed for the original owner by her architect brother-in-law, this home became known as ‘the A-Frame house’ and was, according to the article in Architect and Builder, frequently sketched and photographed by passersby due to its unique and striking appearance.

While it was originally built as a one-bedroom home - an oddity at the time – the home has since been expanded upon and now features two-bedrooms and two bathrooms. There are two reception areas with a view to the garden and the property also includes two garages and a two-bedroom, one- bathroom cottage with a separate entrance.

“This property is architecturally very intriguing,” says Moosa. “The sharply pitched roof reaches down to within a couple feet of the ground to form the A shape of the home’s frame. Long exposed gum poles have been used to support the weight of the thatch, which has largely added to the interior character and interest of the home.”

Moosa explains that this home is a considered to be a heritage property as it is older than 60 years. Moosa explains that the National Heritage Resource Act governs what can and can’t be done to heritage properties. “While not all properties that are older than 60 years are considered to be a heritage resource, they have general protection under heritage legislation, as does this particular property,” he says.

?5 Bedroom House for sale in Emmarentia

Talking about general property trends in Emmarentia, Moosa notes that while the number of sales transactions in the area has been a lot lower this year compared to previous years, there has been a solid increase in the average price achieved by agents. “The reason that there have been fewer sales this year is not because there are fewer buyers, but rather due to a lack of supply of properties on the market. This has increased demand for property in Emmarentia, which has in turn pushed up the average price of properties in the area.

He notes that over the past ten years demand for property in the area has steadily increased due to the area’s lifestyle offering and the fact that the suburb has been well-maintained. 

Moosa says that the majority of the homes in Emmarentia are freehold properties, while around 5% are sectional title units. He notes that an entry level home in the area will usually sell for between R1.7 million to R2 million. These homes generally feature parquet flooring and pressed ceilings but many are dated and require some renovation. Mid-level homes start from R2 million and go up to around R2.5 million. These homes will offer three to four bedrooms, two bathrooms, three reception areas and a double garage. High-end properties in Emmarentia usually sell for between R3.0million and R4.3 million, however there are many spectacular homes located on the ridge and on the dam which could possibly sell well in excess of this price range. These homes usually boast a much larger stand than the average homes in the area and are either modern or a classic Johannesburg style home.

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that a home’s location and how the area in which it is situated is maintained will have an impact on the property’s appreciation over the long term. “From an investment perspective, it is far better to own the worst house in the best area, than the best house in the worst area,” says Goslett.

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