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Top property investment spots in Johannesburg’s inner city suburbs

30 Apr 2019

Bellevue East, located on the border of the upmarket suburbs of Observatory and Upper Houghton, emerged as one of the top-performing suburbs in Johannesburg in terms of property price growth.

This three bedroom, two bathroom townhouse for sale in Bellevue East, Johannesburg, has two balconies, a private garden and is close to amenities. It is selling for R580 000 - click here to view.

According to Lightstone data, property prices for homes priced below R650 000 in Bellevue East grew by 5.4% in 2018.

Sandra Gordon, Pam Golding Properties senior research analyst, notes that during the past 12 months (April 2018 to March 2019), a total of nine freehold properties were sold at an average price of R825 000, while 31 sectional title units were sold at an average price of R317 000.

“Bellevue East is an unusually stable market, with 62% of existing homeowners having owned their properties for more than 11 years. Most of these owners are mature and middle-aged, with 40% of existing owners falling into each of these age categories. A further 16% were retirees, while the balance is made up of first-time buyers,” she says.

However, in sharp contrast, Lightstone data shows that during the past 12 months (between April 2018 and March 2019), 66% of buyers were young adults (35 years or younger), many of who were presumably purchasing their first home.

Bellevue East has a total of 857 homes which are fairly evenly distributed between freehold (48%) and sectional title (52%) units.

“Activity in the sectional title market in Bellevue East remains relatively buoyant, with the strongest sales in the past decade recorded in 2017 and 2018,” says Gordon.

Brian Goso, Pam Golding Properties area specialist, says Bellevue East is a sought-after suburb because it is less congested when compared to Yeoville and Hillbrow, which are the most densely populated suburbs in the area, and are home to the highest number of people per square metre.

This 144sqm three bedroom, two bathroom flat in Yeoville, Johannesburg, has secure parking, two balconies and is well-located close to the Louis Botha Avenue transport route. It is on the market for R570 000 - click here to view.

“In addition to property price growth recorded in 2018, the suburb offers affordable entry-level prices in a desirable location,” he says.

Goso explains that the advantage of Bellevue East being situated on the boundary, with Observatory on one side and Upper Houghton on the other, is that there are bus services, including Rea Vaya and Metro, that run through this part of the suburb, making it convenient to travel to the Johannesburg, Sandton and Rosebank CBDs and Bedfordview.

Sellers in the area are either relocating or retiring to the coast, or moving to retirement homes and villages. Others prefer to stay within the area and tend to buy in Kensington, which is bounded in the west by Troyeville, in the east by Bedfordview and the north by Bruma and Cyrildene, according to the Johannesburg North Quarterly Report April 2019.

Bellevue East offers freehold homes and spacious sectional title properties priced from R250 000 to R300 000 for one bedroom apartments measuring 80sqm in size. It is also possible to buy a large one bedroom apartment measuring 60sqm in some old buildings for under R250 000.

Freehold homes can be purchased at starting prices of around R600 000, and can range up to R1.1 million for two bedroom, one bathroom homes on small stands. Many of these old properties require some renovations to spruce them up.

Prices can reach up to R1.5 million for beautifully maintained homes located on the boundary of Observatory, a high-end suburb. For this price, one can expect to buy three to five bedroom homes on spacious grounds, adds Goso.

Affordable inner city prices are attracting young buyers and investors

This 92sqm one bedroom flat in Marshalltown, Johannesburg CBD, has beautiful parquet flooring, lots of light, modern kitchen, and a balcony. It is selling for R890 000 - click here to view.

The Pam Golding Properties Johannesburg North Quarterly Report published in April 2019, with a special focus on inner city suburbs, further notes that with a young population steadily entering the housing market, 2019 is likely to see an increase in the number of first-time buyers, particularly in Hillbrow, where prices are more affordable with a median price of R150 000 in 2018, up from R142 500 in 2015.

Areas such as Braamfontein, Bellevue, Bellevue East, Hillbrow, Joubert Park, Marshalltown and Yeoville remain sought after as properties are accessibly priced with entry-level prices of R100 000 for bachelor apartments in Hillbrow, notes the report.

According to Lightstone, in the past 12 months (2018), buyers were significantly younger than the age profile of existing homeowners – most noticeably in Hillbrow, where 90% of recent buyers were 35 years or younger, and presumably predominantly first-time buyers, the report notes.

“Hillbrow is predominantly an investors’ market, with prices starting from R100 000 for bachelor apartments to R150 000 for one bedroom apartments, while rentals range from R2 500 per month for bachelor units per month.”

The report indicates that sectional title property prices in Hillbrow and Berea have experienced the strongest growth over the past decade, thus making both locations attractive for buyers.

“Berea has the largest housing market and has consistently registered the most unit sales each year until 2018, when Hillbrow saw a doubling in unit sales to take first position.

“In Berea, entry-level one bedroom apartments are priced between R250 000 and R380 000, with two bedroom apartments starting from R350 000 and ranging up to R500 000.

“Freehold homes in Berea offering up to four bedrooms and two bathrooms are priced between R650 000 and R1.4 million.”

Well-maintained properties in prime locations in Berea are sought after and continue to sell well, according to the report, for example, a four bedroom house located on Mitchell Street was sold for R1 million cash in 2018.

Other desirable homes in Berea include those located along Hillbrow Street and Honey Street.

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