Spotlight on Rosebank

Private Property South Africa
Catherine Black

In recent years, Rosebank has seen a major commercial facelift, most notably in the redeveloped The Zone @ Rosebank and the migration of large corporate head offices, such as Standard Bank’s and Fluxmans Attorneys’, to the area. Now, residential property is following this redevelopment trend as the demand for high-end city living in the area increases.

As opposed to the slick corporate feel of Sandton, Rosebank has always danced to a different tune. It’s a bit older, a bit more soulful and a bit more about the arts and culture. Visit the Rosebank Mall, the Circa or Everard Read gallery to view works by local artists; listen to live music five nights a week at Katzy’s; or pick up handmade crafts at the Rosebank Sunday Market while listening to the local buskers strumming guitars. The streets are packed with creative, sharply dressed groups of students and 20-somethings and the feeling in the air is one of multicultural enterprise that leans towards the arts.

Up until fairly recently, Rosebank residential property has consisted predominantly of spacious mid-century apartment blocks with their characteristic stucco walls, parquet floors and high pressed ceilings. But all this is changing. Noting the increasing commercial development, property developers are seeing opportunities for great returns on high-density, upmarket residential developments as well. It makes sense: with its world-class shopping, restaurants, bars, schools (such as Rosebank College), hotels and the Gautrain all just metres away, Rosebank is an attractive option for city dwellers. And for those whose offices are now in the area, Rosebank has become an even more attractive prospect as it means their daily commute is that much shorter.

Lindi Mabena has lived in a one-bedroom apartment in Rosebank for the past 18 months.

“Living here is great because of how convenient it is,”

Lindi says. “I love having the shops and restaurants so close by. It’s also got a really vibrant feel to it, as though I’m right in the middle of things. I work in Midrand, so it’s really quick and easy for me to get to and from work everyday on the Gautrain without having to sit in traffic for hours.”

Mike Ruttell, executive director: development at Redefine, thinks this trend will continue, because Rosebank

“lends itself well to a work-live-play lifestyle”.

Redefine is busy with Park Central, its flagship residential development aimed at the high-end buyer. Due for completion in 2017, Park Central is situated on the corner of Baker Street and Keyes Avenue. It will have 445 apartments, ranging from one- or two-bedroom units priced from R1,75m, right up to luxuriously spacious penthouses pegged at the R16m mark. The development sums up modern city living – slick and stylish interiors, sky gardens, manicured parks and roof gardens and, of course, easy access to all of the area’s attractions.

The main problem with Rosebank, though, is that space is limited, which means that old residential buildings either have to be knocked down or refurbished. Ruttell says that the suburb’s older apartment buildings lend themselves well to upgrades or redevelopment and have huge potential for increased density and height. “Access to more bulk is attractive to residential developers due to the resulting economies of scale,” he says.

Chris Renecle, MD: Renprop, has a different view: he believes that most of the older residential buildings in Rosebank will be demolished and rebuilt at higher densities, because of the land value. “Refurbishment is not a cost-effective option,” he says, “and the economies of scale will play a role in these future development decisions.”

Renprop is developing The Tyrwhitt, a similar development to Park Central with its range of one- or two-bedroom units and penthouse apartments. This follows Renprop’s successful development of The Vantage, which was completed in 2014 and whose apartments sold out soon after its launch.

How construction will happen is still open to debate, but both Renprop and Redefine agree that the apartments are attractive to several types of buyer. Ruttell says Redefine’s biggest market is the younger or first-time buyer, so it expects to see smaller units being introduced to the market. Renecle sees investors as the other major target market: “Our developments are priced in such a way as to ensure investors achieve capital growth before they take transfer of their units,” he says.

Renprop and Redefine also see a market for buy-to-live purchasers in their developments, particularly in the high-rise apartments. Ruttell says that Redefine foresees the growth of a strong home rental market in the area and that the group expects it to last for a long time. “We have first-time buyers,” he says, “but in lesser numbers, as the lead times from building to launching some of them could be a while.”

Meanwhile, the demand for high-end density residential living in Rosebank continues as more and more people look for a village-in-the-city lifestyle, where the commute to work is shorter or nonexistent and all amenities are on their doorstep. For now, at least, the future of Rosebank looks as bright as the bright young things that fill its streets, shops, nightclubs and offices.

Property prices in Rosebank

  • A typical property for sale in Rosebank is a two-bedroom apartment at an average asking price of R3,407,500.
  • 8% of properties for sale are houses, at an average asking price of R3,55m.
  • 92% of properties for sale are apartments.
  • Average monthly rental for a one-bedroom apartment: R12,250

Demand

Properties for sale in Rosebank comprise 6% of total sales listings in Rosebank and Parktown. They receive:

  • 4% of the interest
  • 4% of the total rental listings

than properties elsewhere in Rosebank and Parktown.

This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

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Rosebank and Parktown
On trend and arty
Rosebank is a multi-cultural, vibrant and exciting suburb of Johannesburg, with an outdoorsy atmosphere. It is a trendy suburb, business centre and tourist attraction in one of Johannesburg's up-market areas. Although Rosebank is home to many head offices, the district also provides plenty of entertainment to its residents and visitors at its variety of shopping malls, restaurants, markets, luxurious hotels, cinemas, art galleries and night clubs. Parktown is home to many businesses, hospitals, schools, churches and restaurants, whilst still maintaining quiet residential areas. Parktown is an old and established suburb, with leafy avenues and a serene atmosphere. Large mansions are a dominant feature in this exclusive suburb, and new developments are rare.
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