Smack bang between Blairgowrie and Hyde Park is the highly sought-after and hip suburb of Craighall Park. While the road names are terribly posh (think Buckingham, Devonshire, Westminster and York) the suburb is anything but ostentatious. In fact, it’s rather warm and inviting. Tree-lined streets, big parks, quaint coffee spots and trendy homes – it’s basically what Jozi’s yuppy class requires. To have a major road like Jan Smuts Avenue running straight through the suburb is a great convenience too. And what a road it is – you can get anything from (designer) second-hand clothes to artwork, the absolute best selection of DVDs (Video Spot), treats (Woolies food store), fast food (Steers, McDonalds, Debonairs), car dealerships (Alfa Romeo, Lindsay Saker), Pilates classes (at the Valley Centre) and musical instruments (Music Connection). The list is endless. Lynette De Wet of The Property Panel is an estate agent in the area. She says the demand for property in Craighall Park is high. “It’s a suburb of choice – it’s beautiful, family orientated (with great schools and churches) and close to the major malls like Sandton, Hyde Park and Rosebank.” Lynette is also chuffed that property in Craighall Park is showing signs of revival. “It still takes about two to three months to sell a house, but sellers have come to terms with realistic asking prices and buyers have calmed down amidst their bargain hunt. So, all in all, things are really looking up.” That said, Lynette says that prospective buyers won’t find a home for sale in Craighall Park for less than R1.2m. “If by some miracle you find a place in that price range, you know you’re in for renovations. Most homes here are costly because they’ve been done up.” For entry-level buyers, Lynette recommends the suburb’s slick apartments or flats. “There are some great, funky apartments (two-bedrooms) that go for about R700-800K. But there are the smarter apartments too. We have a beautiful new development called Buckingham Gardens – perfect for a young couple with a baby, for example. These go for about R1.4m.” On the rental front, Lynette says that R6000-R7000 a month (for a two-bedroom property in Craighall Park) is pretty standard. Two- and three-bedroom houses go for anything between R13000 and R16000. Lightstone property research experts have recorded a massive influx of young home owners into the area. The young adult category (people aged 18-35) now own about 45% of all property in Craighall Park. Big family homes, decent-size gardens, proximity to the Sandton CBD, and great schools in the area (Flemming Pre-Primary, Rutland Nursery, Craighall Primary, Our lady of Mercy Primary School, to name a few) are just some of the attractions for prospective buyers. According to Lightstone, 63% of all the market stock in Craighall Park is freehold property. Lynette says that a decent-size family home in the area will cost you about R2.3m. Looking at return on investment in the area, Lightstones records show that home owners in Craighall Park are sitting pretty. Over the past three months, 21 transfers have gone down in the area – the highest of which was R3.1m and the lowest R750K. The average sale price was about R2.45m. Property reports detailing deeds office data also show that many have made money on their homes in Craighall Park. For example, one home in Buckingham Avenue was bought in 1995 for R440K. In 2007, the municipal value of the home was R2.6m. Another family home a few blocks away was sold for R1,5m in 2006 and was valued at R1,8m just two years later. Next time you’re cruising along Jan Smuts and want to escape the Jozi rat race – there are two places to visit in Craighall Park – just take your pick. For delicious cappuccinos and a first-class meal, visit Corner Café at the intersection of Buckingham and Rothesay. If it’s good ale and pub grub you’re after, head to Giles on Grafton venue. It’s also a fine spot to watch the rugger. Bru.
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