Arty Kensington draws buyers

Kensington's olde-worlde charm remains a big draw card for Johannesburg property buyers.

"The suburb almost seems to be caught in a time warp - it is a throwback to gentler times when suburbia offered a calm haven to residents," says Luisa da Mata, Aida North East Executive area specialist.

"The impression is reinforced by the quiet tree-lined side streets and the century-old homes, many of which still sport original features such as steel ceilings, wooden floors and window frames. The suburb also has a lively sidewalk culture thanks to the many coffee and antique shops along the main routes and residents still have picnics at the lake in Rhodes Park," she says.

Residents are well-catered for in terms of facilities. Some of Johannesburg's most prestigious schools, such as Jeppe Girls High, Bishop Baven, St Andrews and St Benedicts, are within easy reach while residents can shop at the nearby Eastgate, Bedford Centre or Darras Centre, which is currently undergoing a facelift. Renovations at Darras Centre reflect a wider trend in the suburb as new residents increasingly update their properties, da Mata says.

Other facilities within easy reach include the OR Tambo international airport, Johannesburg's CBD, Ellis Park and the Bedford Clinic. For many new buyers, the fact that Kensington is on the bus route is a big plus.

Property prices start at around R800k. "There are still smaller homes on 500sqm stands available at this price," da Mata says. "These homes typically have three bedrooms and a bathroom and offer wide scope for renovation.

"Most properties, however, sell at around R1m while top properties sell at about R2m. Properties on the higher reaches of the koppies offer sweeping views across the valley and such views tend to add substantial value. Property on larger stands of 1000sqm near the Bedfordview border also sell at top prices," she says.
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