Spotlight on Atholl

Private Property South Africa
Belinda Mountain

Subtle. Secure. Central. The best of Sandton on your doorstep. Friendly neighbours. Atholl has it all.

Atholl is a grand suburb, but its residents love living there for reasons besides the prestige. Simon Carpenter explains that it feels “grounded without the ostentatious bling”. Kim Meredith agrees, saying the suburb is “affluent but remarkably unassuming”.

Its central location is a standout feature. “I love being sandwiched neatly in a square between Sandton, Inanda and Melrose,” says resident Gary Keizan. Tracey King, another resident, adds that living so close to the highway and the Gautrain station allows one easy access to just about anywhere. “Even though you’re centrally situated, this leafy suburb has an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity,” says Isabel Madelung.

Thanks to its small size (there are only about 2,000 to 4,000 people in the suburb) , Atholl fosters a culture of good neighbourliness and residents rally for a number of causes, such as new security measures. On weekends you’ll find locals walking their dogs or pushing their children in prams through the streets, waving hello to people they know. “Although many residents live behind high walls, they make a point of getting to know one another,” says Kim.

Atholl residents are investing heavily in security, spending several million rand to install a world-class CCTV camera system that will hopefully lower crime in the area. Phase 1 of the roll-out will see 86 overview cameras and nine license plate recognition cameras installed, as well as new intelligent software that learns people’s normal behaviour and flags loitering or other unusual activity for further investigation.

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Atholl is no concrete jungle. Beautiful established trees line every street. Simon calls it “an arboreal delight”. Isabel agrees, saying that the thousands of trees in the suburb certainly contribute to Joburg’s reputation as the largest urban forest in the world. Along with the kilometres of beautiful trees comes a diverse and varied birdlife. Crested barbet, violet wood-hope and the odd spotted eagle owl can be found in Atholl gardens. Kim says they recently had a hamerkop and giant kingfisher on their bedroom balcony, African black ducks in their swimming pool and a pair of gymnogenes flying over their house. There’s even been talk of a genet running through the streets.

With Mushroom Farm Park, James & Ethel Gray Park, Inanda Club and Wanderers Club all nearby, residents have their choice of activities. Tracey loves taking her kids horse riding at the Inanda Club, which is also a great place to enjoy a G&T on the balcony overlooking the polo field.

Head to the nearby Bluebird wholefood market on a Sunday, meet a friend at Naked Coffee in Melrose Arch or pick up gourmet groceries at Thrupps. The Illovo Post Office includes a number of owner-run stores, including a shoemaker, a tailor, a hardware store, hair salon, post office, patisserie, old-fashioned barber, a fish and chip shop and according to some, the friendliest dry cleaners in Joburg

Stands in Atholl are generally large, with established gardens and beautiful verges adding to the suburb’s appeal. Gary says that the contrasting mix of modern and older stately homes “represent the blend of families and older residents”. There are also cluster and townhouse complexes as well as smaller apartments that attract a wide variety of people to the suburb.

With so much going for it, this seems to be a suburb that seduces you and never lets you go.

We moved from Northcliff to Atholl simply to reduce our commuting time, but over the 13 years we’ve lived in the area, we've become increasingly attached to the suburb and now can’t imagine living anywhere else in Gauteng,

says Kim.

Eat like a local:

  • Grab a cup at Naked Coffee in Melrose Arch.
  • Get some croissants at The Patisserie in the Post Office Centre.
  • Enjoy brunch at the Arbour Cafe in Birdhaven.
  • Meet a friend for lunch at Tashas in Atholl Square.
  • Try something spicy at Rabbit in the Moon.
  • Order Mastrantonio’s famous veal limone.

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Property prices in Atholl

  • A typical property for sale in Atholl is a four-bedroom house at an average asking price of R7,5m
  • 58% of properties for sale are houses
  • 24% of properties for sale are in a complex, at an average asking price of R8,21m
  • 18% of properties for sale are flats, at an average asking price of R2,69m
  • Average monthly rental for a two-bedroom house: R17,500

Demand

Properties for sale in Atholl comprise 3% of total sales listings in the Sandton and Bryanston North area. They receive:

  • 3% of the interest
  • 12% of the total rental listings

for properties elsewhere in the Sandton and Bryanston North area.

This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

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