There is an old saying in the property market that there are three things that count in determining where to buy, location, location, location. When looking for a house the most important thing is the location.The question that prospective buyers have to ask themselves is what aspect of location is important to them. For some people it is having wide open spaces, for others it is being within walking distance of the right school and for others its is being close to work and their social life.Wendywood, sitting on the eastern edge of Johannesburg, with the M1 motorway on its one flank and bisected by Bowling Road the suburb fits the location requirements of those that are looking for a reasonably quiet suburb (excluding motorway noise) with little or no rat-running within striking distance of Sandton, Woodmead, Sunninghill and Rivonia. The suburb started life at about the same time as Sandton but the suburb as it exists today, with tar roads and schools was completed during the 1980s. Roughly three quarters of the properties in the suburb are freehold with the remaining quarter sectional title.After an increase in crime during the 1990s the residents enclosed the suburb and it is now behind 24-hour access control. Of course one of the benefits of access control is that rat-running through the suburb is kept to a minimum.Clearly the drawcard of access control, quiet leafy streets and easy access to Sandton and other key areas has paid off for home owners in Wendywood as the suburb has seen freehold house prices rise by more than 80% in the period between 2005 and 2010.This makes Wendywood one of the top performing suburbs in its wealth category over this period.Over the last 12 months sales in the suburb have been predominantly driven by owners who have been in the suburb for less than five years, with 58% of recent sales coming from this group. The suburb has also seen an exodus of its older residents with pensioners making up more than 20% of recent sellers, out of proportion from the less than 10% of stable owners that live in the suburb.Recent buyers have come exclusively from the 18-35 and 36-49 age groups, but at present the largest groups of residents come from the 36-49 and 50-64 age groups, with 18-35 making up less than 20% of the stable owners.Unlike some other suburbs where the sectional title properties lag the freehold properties in price, Wendywood has seen the prices of the two categories equalize over the past three years, driven - in all likelihood - by the development of upscale complexes in the suburb. At the end of 2010 the average sale price for a freehold unit was just around R1.55 million with the average price for a sectional title property at R1.45 million. The effect of new developments can be seen quite clearly as the average sale price for sectional title properties in Wendywood in 2007 was R427 000. This figure does, however skew the averages for the suburb as average sale prices have remained flat since then, with only freehold prices showing a small increase of 6% on its 2008 price.Those that got in before the property boom have seen excellent return on their investment, but for those looking to buy today, the market would appear to be stable, but then again there is the location to think about and that is something that Wendywood has in abundance.
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