Carlswald AH - A Country Oasis Amidst Big City Development

Private Property South Africa

Once a quaint, far-flung suburb, Carlswald Agricultural Holdings (AH) in Midrand has become an oasis of country living amidst a sea of urban sprawl. So says Andrew Pearse of Platinum Residential which services the area.

Midrand’s strategic position between the greater Johannesburg and Pretoria environs has been arguably the biggest driver behind its growth and its characteristically high density property development. Sandwiched between Vorna Valley, Crowthorne and Kyalami, Carlswald Agricultural Holdings might well have evolved similarly had it not been for town planning restrictions which prevent large-scale subdivision in the area. Consequently, Carlswald AH, which is characterised by large plots and rambling country homes, has retained its bucolic nature.

Today, Carlswald is bordered on all sides by a number of upmarket estates including Carlswald Estate, Summerset Estate, Carlswald North Estate, Montecello, Tallyn’s Reach and Kyalami Estate - one of Johannesburg’s most established gated estates. Properties in these developments sell from R1,8m to about R8m. Interestingly, Pearse says many of these estates are largely “shopped out”. “Stock is thin on the ground as new development has all but dried up in the area,” notes Pearse. “Developers are holding off any new ventures until the economy improves which is good news for local owners as it drives up demand for existing property.”

The fact that Waterfall Estate, a ‘super’ mixed-use development is currently under construction in the south of Midrand probably also has something to do with the lack of new development. Upon completion Waterfall Estate will encompass a host of properties and amenities and will become home to thousands of new residents. Pearse reckons the development will create much needed impetus for Midrand as a whole.

Another proposed development which is set to galvanise the area is Old Mutual’s proposed R20bn ‘Zonkizizwe’, town centre. This massive mixed use development has been allotted to an area around the Gautrain station in Midrand but a date for its inception has yet to be finalised. Pearse says such a development would be most welcome as Midrand currently lacks a truly “world-class” mall and related amenities such as those which can be found in Sandton.

As for Carlswald AH itself, Pearse says the area attracts a certain type of buyer. Those that move to the area are inevitably seeking wide open spaces and simple, farm-style homes. Many hail from the equestrian community given Carlswald’s strong equestrian orientation and proximity to Kyalami, Beaulieu and the horse-racing hub of Randjesfontein and many tend to live in the area for decades at a time as the latest Lightstone report on the area will attest.

According to the report, over 45% of Carlswald AH’s residents have lived in the area for over eleven years. Interestingly, the same report states that over 40% of Carlswald’s AH’s ‘stable’ owners fall into the ‘middle age’ bracket.

An off-shoot of this scenario is that stock doesn’t often come onto the market. Indeed, Lighstone statistics cite only three freehold sales as having taken place to date in the area in 2011 at an average price of R2m. And while freehold reigns supreme, a small slice of the local property pie has been given over to large sectional title properties which, Pearse says, are valued at between R3m and R4m.

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