Sandton may be the heart of big business in SA – if not Africa – but its urban lifestyle appeals too.
Sandton combines Johannesburg's sophistication with its African energy, as epitomised by world-class restaurants, drinks venues, Sandton City high-end shopping mall, entertainment and five-star hotels. It is home to the JSE, three of the five big banks and head offices for the likes of Sasol, Discovery, Webber Wentzel and Alexander Forbes. About 400 000m2 of commercial and retail space is being built in the Sandton CBD alone. If you think Sandton is a big deal now, just wait to see what it’s like in five years’ time.
With all the commercial development, there’s been a growing interest from developers in high-density residential properties in the Sandton CBD. It makes sense – more corporate development means more congestion as employees travel in and out of the area each day, so there’s more of a demand to live closer to work.
Jake Hoddinott of Barrow Properties agrees, citing the group’s new Metropolis on Park development as an example. On track for completion in 2016, it will consist of 126 apartments of various sizes. Although Barrow Properties is primarily a commercial property developer, it is responding to the attractive yields that residential developments in the Sandton CBD can kind of property can offer developers.
With Metropolis, Barrow is aiming at buyers who are interested in a high-end city-living experience. Hoddinott says, “Metropolis on Park offers residents an on-park lifestyle similar to what one could expect in London’s Hyde Park and Central Park in New York City – a first for Sandton. Amenities include a running track, outdoor gym, restaurant, children’s play area and open green lawns.”
So who are these high-end buyers? The key market is the corporate renter, says Hoddinot, but the developments also appeals to owner-occupiers looking to live in a secure development close to their place of work so that they may save on transport costs and commuting time.
Nowhere else in the world can you be on a train to the airport within four minutes, and then minutes later be on your way to anywhere else in the world
Shaun Stevens, a Sandton resident, says that the best thing about living in Sandton is how central it is. “Nowhere else in the world can you be on a train to the airport within four minutes, and then minutes later be on your way to anywhere else in the world,” he says. The biggest advantage, says Stevens, is that he works in Sandton too, so he can walk to the office and avoid the area’s infamous traffic congestion.
But what about those who commute in and out each day? Besides the sheer increase in the number of people living in the node, load shedding in the evenings means traffic lights are often out, leading to gridlock before workers have even left the building.
Luckily, the City of Joburg is working with town planners on a solution. Besides numerous road upgrades to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists, public transport infrastructure is being improved, all of which will reduce congestion. However, the main change will need to be a shift in mindset so that more South Africans use public transport.
To help with this, the City of Joburg is planning a “car-free” district within the Sandton CBD during October. Certain streets will be closed to car traffic in favour of walking, cycling and other public transport. Executive Mayor Mpho Parks Tau says that Joburg “wants to show that an economic, eco-mobile future is possible and that public transport, walking and cycling can be accessible, safe and attractive”.
Sandton is quickly transforming into a live-work-play CBD. Granted, you won’t be able to find a freestanding house with a huge garden, but if you’re up for sleek apartment living at a prestigious address, where you cut down on traffic time while gaining gorgeous Jozi sunsets behind the skyline, Sandton should definitely be on your shortlist.
Visit Private Property’s showcase video of the Sandton Neighbourhood
Property prices in Sandton and Bryanston
A typical property for sale in Sandton and Bryanston is a four-bedroom house.
• Average asking price: R3,3m
• 31% of properties for sale are flats and apartments, at an average asking price of R1,9m.
• 24% of properties for sale are in complexes, at an average asking price of R3,14m.
• Average monthly rental for a two-bedroom apartment: R15 500
Properties for sale in Sandton and Bryanston comprise 2,5% of total sales listings in Gauteng.
• 10% of the interest
• 58% more views per listing
• 60% more leads per listing
than properties elsewhere in Gauteng.
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.