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Cluster and complex homes are in high demand from a security and convenience perspective, but freestanding homes are still the preferred option for Jozi city dwellers who prioritise freedom of space, privacy, nature and sizeable gardens, especially those who want to add their own value and personal stamp.
So says Cobus Odendaal, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Johannesburg and Randburg, adding that house sales have risen in sought after suburbs like Duxbury, River Club, pockets of Bryanston, Sandhurst and other older established suburbs where freehold homes still dominate.
“In River Club, where the highest median house price was R4.2 million in 2015, it reached R4.215m this year and sales volumes have also spiked with 76 transactions recorded lasts year compared to the previous high of 60 in 2013.
“In Bryanston as a whole, a record number of houses (410) changed hands last year, although some areas fared better than others.”
Grahame Diedericks, Manager Principal in Midrand for the group says that location is an important factor when it comes to freestanding homes and areas like Vorna Valley which is situated close to Waterfall, Midrand’s new amenities and major arterial routes is very popular.
“The median sale price of freestanding homes has been consistently record-breaking since it reached R1.7m in 2019, increasing to R1.75m in 2020, to R1.854m in 2021 to rising again R1.9m this year.
“Likewise, in Noordwyk, where last year’s record median house price of R1.505m has already been trumped this year when it reached R1.6m before the end of February.”
Much has been made over the years about finding that elusive gem in the rough – the “renovators dream” – which can be transformed and then sold at a good profit and, whilst it’s still possible, Odendaal says that these properties are now fewer and further between.
“The best suburbs to look are in Linden, Blairgowrie, the southern side of Northcliff Koppie, Randpark Ridge and Melville and in order to snap up one of these gems you need to keep your nose to the ground and be aware of these properties as they come onto the market.
“The best way to do so is to establish a relationship with an experienced agent in your preferred area who will notify you as soon as they are listed – and then do not hesitate because it’s very likely to be snapped up whilst you are still thinking about it.
“But, considering the current costs of building and vacant land, it can really be worth your while as it’s can be more economical and much easier to create your dream home this way than to build from scratch.”
According to Lightstone data, last year Randpark Ridge saw a record number of house sales (324), the highest number of houses changed hands in Melville since 2012 and in Blairgowrie sales volumes matched the previous high of 196 in 2015.
Diedericks says that in Midrand, a number of older established estates are also attracting the attention of buyers looking to add their own value and personal stamp.
“Kyalami Estate, Carlswald Lifestyle Estate and Kyalami Glen seem to be pulling a lot of interest in this market and are great options because for the most part, they require cosmetic upgrades such as a fresh coat of paint, garden landscaping and minor kitchen and bathroom upgrades.
“And, being sought-after developments, you will always get a return on the additional investment if you don’t overcapitalise with unnecessary additions like smart home technology, pool installations and ultra-high-end finishes.”
“Any good modern renovation offering good finishes receives more than its fair share of buyer attention at the moment and you can’t go wrong if you focus on creating a fresh first impression and ensure there are no tired aspects to the house,” concludes Odendaal.
“Make sure you know the ceiling value of properties in your area and focus on quality over quantity, especially regarding craftmanship. Replace the items that really date a home such as light fittings and tired linoleum flooring. And if your budget stretches to it, guest suites or granny cottages are always in demand.”