Reporter: Today, we take a closer look at the exciting new Neighbourhoods feature starting with one particular neighbourhood, Sandton, our financial hub. What is it about Sandton that has so much interest? Why is this such a financial hub for South Africa?
Simon Bray: You hit the nail on the head right. That's where all the commerce and all the business energy really happens in our country and perhaps even in the continent. You have heard of Sandton described as the richest square mile in Africa. I don't know how true that is, but it's certainly true of South Africa. It's where all the business seems to happen. The JSE is obviously there. All your top organisations, top businesses are based there. Some of the most influential people in the country live and/or work around Sandton. We've seen some of the most influential architecture as well. I think a lot of those big companies are choosing to invest in their own assets in that particular area. It's great to see that actually. Like a lot of local architects really getting prominent new buildings. I think of that Norton Rose building, it's just unbelievable, and the lights that light up. So some fantastic architecture and design coming into our financial capital.
If I had to get you to summate that Sandton lifestyle, what is it all about?
That's the cool thing about this neighbourhood section that we put on the site. It's answering that question. What is it to live in an area like Sandton? When you think of Sandton: modern, urban sophistication, business, that all comes to mind and that's pretty obvious. You've got Sandton City, you've got Michelangelo Towers, you've got hotels, you've got shopping. But what people don't realise is the suburbs around Sandton, places like Bryanston, Sandton, Hyde Park, they're all beautiful places to live. They've got some unbelievable homes. And the benefits of living so close to a business centre like Sandton means that you're not stuck in the traffic, it's convenient to go home. You can mix family and business in a way that's quite unusual in the country.
And an interesting mix of old and new money in the area as well. The words "upwardly mobile" certainly come to mind. It's an area that's mushrooming. Can the same apply or be applied to the property market there? What is the property market like in Sandton?
The property market, some data and insights from our site that are quite interesting is Sandton has about 60% more demand, more attention than other areas in Gauteng. So it's certainly, perhaps unsurprisingly so, a popular area for people looking to buy or rent. Some of the pricing - a fascinating stat is that 11 billion Rands' worth of property is currently on the market, just in that Sandton area. So it's like a huge amount of money and average property values are high as well. They are around R5 million for an average house in the Sandton neighbourhood.
So I'm guessing a lot of that traffic then is being channelled into rentals. What's the rental market like in Sandton?
Yeah, that's the nice thing you know. Not all of us can afford to live in a R5 million home, straight off the bat, but we still work in some of these high-powered organisations around Sandton. So rental is a great opportunity to get into the market. A typical two bedroom apartment in Sandton will set you back R15000-R15500 a month. So the rental is still, I would say, affordable for the convenience and the lifestyle that you've got there.
You talk about the culture of an area with neighbourhoods and that's really what it's all about, is knowing the community that you're buying into. What would your typical neighbour be in Sandton? Who would they be?
We asked that question. We wanted to identify locals that really represented an area and what it's all about. We filmed an experience or showcase video for Sandton, and we picked Nobuntu Webster, a local entrepreneur in Sandton area, and she is kind of what your typical neighbour would look like. Upwardly mobile, like you said, young entrepreneur, very business minded, business orientated. Loves things like the Gautrain, ease of access to the airport, hotels for international clients or local clients to come and visit the centre. So that type of person, someone that's engaged with business, that has meetings at the various businesses around Sandton, uses the hotels, spas, restaurants to entertain clients, and you've got the beautiful homes on the doorstep, so you can move in and relax if you need to.
What is your final tip regarding Sandton as our featured neighbourhood?
It's an obvious choice. If you are an engaged business individual and you want to stay close to the heartbeat of commerce in South Africa, Sandton is an excellent neighbourhood for you and a good investment opportunity as well.