From its beginnings as a dusty road with a few houses dotted along it, Broadacres today is a bustle of shops, secure housing estates and modern apartments.
Once upon a time, Broadacres wasn’t even a suburb – it was a dusty dirt road stretching all the way down to the William Nicol Highway, with just a few houses dotted along the way. “When I grew up in Chartwell near what is today Broadacres, the closest shops to us were in Randburg,” says resident Karen Archer. “Our local grocer was a truck selling wares out the back on the corner of William Nicol and Witkoppen.”
Today, Broadacres couldn’t be more different: it’s an exceptionally popular residential area that’s bustling with shops, apartment complexes and housing estates. “New estates are going up seemingly every few months,” says resident Jo Harris. As is evident from the near-constant construction in and around the area, the growth of Broadacres shows no signs of slowing down.
So why is it so popular? For starters, housing estates appeal to those people with young families looking for a secure environment in which to raise their kids. Cedar Lakes is one such estate, consisting of 590 stands surrounding open parklands, lakes and rivers along with facilities like tennis courts, a swimming pool and clubhouse with a restaurant and bar. “As far as estates go, it’s beautiful,” says Karen. “It's safe, family orientated and they've managed to protect the wildlife with their greenbelts and lakes, so there’s easy access to outdoor activities. Residents can run in the evenings, play tennis and braai by the lakes. Kids can rides their bikes safely, walk to friends, play soccer at the clubhouse or fish in the lakes.”
Besides housing estates such as this one, most of the larger properties in the area have since been sub-divided to accommodate high density apartment complexes. “There aren’t many free standing houses anymore – the suburb is all pretty much secure complexes and estates,” says Jo. Whether it’s an estate or apartment, both offer safe, convenient living for working professionals and young families.
One of the biggest appeals of Broadacres is its host of modern conveniences right on your doorstep – most of which can be found at the Broadacres Lifestyle Centre. “It has everything you need, including one of the best Spars in the country,” says another resident, Jana Kleinloog. Other shops in the centre include a Woolworths, Reader’s Warehouse, Pick n Pay and a Virgin Active gym. “We have everything we need on right here, so we don’t ever have to leave,” laughs Jo.
The emphasis on all things kid-friendly is evident here. “During the week, you’ll find many young families at the farmyard off the Mugg and Bean,” says Karen. “There's also a great place called the Seed Pod which has mosaic classes for kiddies and adults.” Besides these, there’s also the Chop It kids’ hair salon, the Lion Park nearby and plenty of kid-friendly restaurants such as Munch at the Garden Shop and D’Owe Werf Food Emporium.
Even if you don’t have children, there are plenty of restaurants to keep you entertained. Buitengeluk is well known even to Joburgers who don’t live in the area. “It has a lovely garden restaurant that makes you feel like you’re far out of the city,” says Jo.
There’s a huge emphasis on the outdoor active lifestyle here, and weekends see the area buzzing with mountain bikers, road cyclists and runners. “People congregate at Broadacres on the weekends for breakfast after a cycle or a run,” says Karen. “And Northern Farms nearby is great for bike riding for the whole family.”
Unfortunately, Broadacres’ growing popularity does have a downside – the congestion. “With so many complexes going up in the last few years, the area is a lot busier than it was, which has unfortunately meant increased traffic,” says Jana. “Our trip into school in Epsom Downs used to take less than 15 minutes,” says Karen. “Now the traffic coming out of Broadacres is much worse because the area is overcrowded.”
Despite this growing congestion, more and more people are opting for the security and convenience that Broadacres offers. If you can manage to work out a way to avoid traffic during rush hour and you enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, this suburb may be the perfect choice. “Over and above it all,” says Jo, “we like living in Broadacres because of its sense of community.”
Want to know Broadacres as a local does? Here are their specially recommended highlights:
- Stock up on fresh produce at the Broadacres Superspar
- Enjoy breakfast or tea in the garden at Buitengeluk
- Buy children’s books at great prices at Reader’s Warehouse
- Enjoy a beer/citrus cooler and ribs and burgers at Copper Lake Brewing Co
- Take the kids for a morning of arts and crafts at the Seed Pod Studio
- Catch a show at the Barnyard Theatre
- Stock up on pot plants at the Garden Shop nursery
Property prices in the Broadacres area
- A typical property for sale in Broadacres is a three-bedroom house at an average asking price of R2,308m
- 34% of properties for sale are in complexes, at an average asking price of R1,66m
- 24% of properties for are flats, at an average asking price of R1,06m
- Average monthly rental for a two-bedroom apartment: R5,500
Properties for sale in Broadacres comprise 10% of total sales listings in the Sunninghill, Lonehill and Fourways area. They receive:
- 10% of the interest
- 7% of the total rental listings
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.