Centrally located and secure – no wonder growth in Midrand is exploding.
Where it all began..
As far as areas in Gauteng go, Midrand is mushrooming. With its origins as the small suburb of Halfway House – situated directly between Pretoria and Joburg, as its name suggests – today the large expanse that makes up the Midrand area stretches all the way from Kyalami to Centurion. Conveniently, there’s a Gautrain station in the area and the N1 highway runs right through the middle of it, making it ideal for commuters heading both north and south.
Just a few years ago, Midrand featured large tracts of land whereas today, most properties are contained within complexes and housing estates. However, there are still some suburban areas with groups of standalone houses. Nolishka Bramdaw, a resident of Noordwyk, one such area, says, “My favourite thing about living in Midrand is the peaceful atmosphere.” Nolishka also comments on Midrand’s evolution over the years towards estate living. “With more estates and complexes springing up, more people have been encouraged to move here, which has in turn raised property prices in the area,” she says.
Property and security
Another Midrand resident, Karen Willemse, says that in terms of property, Midrand has a good mix of old and new, with bigger houses on the outskirts and newer developments in the centre. While Karen says she loves living in Midrand because it’s central and close to work, the new builds have had a negative impact on travel time. “A 5km journey can make you break open the lunch box wishing you packed in your thermos with strong coffee, because it can take anything from 40 minutes to an hour to get to the other side,” she says.
As far as estates go, the largest in Midrand – and in South Africa – is the 640Ha collection of Waterfall Residential Estates, consisting of the Country Estate and Village, an equestrian estate, and two mature lifestyle estates, Waterfall Hills and Waterfall Valley.
Geoffrey Crow, head of marketing implementation: Century Property Developments, the company behind the Waterfall developments, says, “These lifestyle estates offer residents an upmarket development in which to buy or build their dream home. Waterfall is aimed at people who value a full and varied lifestyle, offering a spacious, secure environment for their family, with upmarket living and property value growth.”
The estates are highly secure, with private access through heavily manned security gatehouses. Facilities include 37km of walking and biking trails, a lake for non-motorised water sports, a clubhouse with full gym, squash courts, restaurants, indoor kids’ play areas and even a private school.
What do the locals say?
Anique Broskie, a resident of Waterfall Country Estate and Village, says that her favourite thing about it is the secure environment that she feels is perfect for bringing up children. “Our kids love riding bikes, scooters, skateboards and playing in the parks with neighbours – and most of them attend the same school inside Waterfall.” And developers have increased the attraction for young families by creating facilities within it. Says Anique, “We are still surprised at how many young families there are in the Waterfall Country Estate and Village, probably due to the fact that the developers opted to open schools instead of a golf course.”
Jennifer O’Ehley, another Waterfall Country Estate and Village resident, agrees that the best part about living in the estate is the lifestyle it allows them. “Everything is close and easy – shops, restaurants, school, friends. We never want to leave! Our boys walk to their mates, ride their bikes down the street and live such a good life, like we used to do many years ago.”
Outside the five residential estates, the new Waterfall City is currently being developed and will contain public retail, commercial and office nodes, including a Gautrain station, five-star hotels, more schools and the Mall of Africa, set to be the largest single-phase shopping centre in the country.
Another development company in on the Midrand action is Central Developments, the company behind Riverbend Estate, San Ridge Heights and Manor House @ Kyalami. Gerrit Brandow, director: Central Developments’ Midrand division, says,
Midrand is an attractive option for us: it’s a fast growing node and is also centrally located within easy reach of Johannesburg, Pretoria and the East Rand. With a high demand for housing and a limited supply currently available, we see real property growth to make it a prime investment opportunity.
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.