Sophiatown and Albertville show strong growth

Private Property South Africa
David A Steynberg

The Randburg suburbs of Albertville and Sophiatown have each seen price growth of more than 130% over the past 10 years, with the Albertville sectional title market increasing on average by 435% and the full title sector by 356%. Adjoining Sophiatown has seen growth in its sectional title and full-title property classes to the tune of 165% and 133% respectively, with its average full-title valuation trumping that of Albertville property.

Property market growth in Sophiatown and Albertville

While both suburbs are dominated by full-title homes (68% in Albertville and 85% in Sophiatown, many of which are more than 50 years old and have the pressed ceilings characteristic of the time) that are affordable enough for the first-time-buyers’ market, the node suffered during the property boom years.

“Between 2004 and 2008 an enormous amount of new stock was pushed into the market by property developers and the attention was redirected to newer and more modern areas and away from older suburbs like Albertville and Sophiatown,” says Tony Ketcher, MD: Seeff Randburg. “The proximity of these suburbs to the Johannesburg CBD is also problematic.”

While both suburbs enjoy proximity to the University of Johannesburg, Wits and public and private hospitals, the municipality hasn’t invested enough in the node.

According to Amoria van Niekerk, sales and rental associate: RE/MAX Central – Sandton, lack of infrastructure development and general neighbourhood upkeep by the municipality caused a downgrading of the general appeal of the area, its streets and the neighbourhood. “This forces the prices of properties down, which in turn increases an influx of buyers from undesirable trades who are opportunistic and have cash to spend on purchasing these properties,” she says.

The flow of buyers to Sophiatown are buying up from Westbury and Newlands and the Sophiatown sellers are buying up into Albertville

Ketcher, however, paints a different picture, saying that demand for homes in both suburbs has quadrupled over the past two years. “The flow of buyers to Sophiatown are buying up from Westbury and Newlands and the Sophiatown sellers are buying up into Albertville,” he says, noting that the investment market is being helped along by the large student population. “The rentals are more than R5 000 a month, with yields of between 11% and 12% for student accommodation and between 7% and 8% for straight residential property.”

Suburb report Albertville Property
Sectional title ranking: 1 857 out of 2 290
Average valuation: R482 751
2015 average sales price: R755 000
Freehold market ranking: 2 641 out of 5 765
Average valuation: R834 455
2015 average sales price: R640 000

Sophiatown Property
Sectional title ranking: 2 212 out of 2 290
Average valuation: R272 500
2015 average sales price: N/A (2014: R223 000)
Freehold market ranking: 2 612 out of 5 765
Average valuation: R846 959
2015 average sales price: R675 000

(Source: Lightstone)

Get to know the Northcliff neighbourhood

Originally published in Sunday Times Neighbourhood


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Genteel Tranquility
Northcliff is one of the older, more established areas in Johannesburg. It is highly sought-after by those looking for a tranquil and exclusive lifestyle. The properties on Northcliff Hill have large grounds with well established park-like gardens. Newer developments in the extensions to the West cater to the younger generation with a taste for modern architecture. There is a distinct lack of industry and commercial blocks. For those who seek the sparkle of entertainment or the outdoors, it is less than half an hour from top spots like the Lion Park, the Cradle of Humankind and the buzz and dazzle of Monte Casino and Silverstar Casino.