Chartwell Agricultural Holdings (AH) in Fourways is one of those few suburbs which offer the best of both worlds in that while its large plots and wide-open spaces may make it feel like a far-flung country node, the busy hub of Fourways lies just five minutes away.
According to Maureen Dalglish, Chartwell AH’s resident property expert, the suburb’s bucolic nature is attributable to an old farm law dating back to 1919 which states that no more than two dwellings can occupy each property. Dalglish adds that the fact that Chartwell AH doesn’t really feature a modern sewerage system also inhibits high density development/ subdivision.
All of the above suits Chartwell AH’s “mixed bag” of residents just fine remarks Dalglish. “Those who choose to live here are looking for quiet, country living and wide open spaces and Chartwell AH delivers. “The majority of the properties measure a little less than one hectare and feature large, rambling country homes and spacious gardens populated by myriad birdlife,” remarks Dalglish. “A number of properties even have their own small dams, private stables and/or small scale farming facilities and horses, cows, pigs and goats are not an uncommon sight.”
Further underpinning Chartwell AH’s appeal are the views. A large portion of the suburb is spread across a hill which provides many of the properties with spectacular views and beautiful sunsets. The Klein Jukskei also runs through sections of Chartwell AH which, although a magnet for birdlife has unfortunately been subjected to serious water pollution over the years.
The fact that residents can live a laid-back country life without having to sacrifice the convenience of modern living is what really seals the deals for many explains Dalglish. Monte Casino, Cedar Square, Broadacres Shopping Centre (famous for its gourmet Spar and other upmarket eateries), Fourways Life Hospital, Lanseria Airport and a number of good schools such as Maria Montessori Pre Primary School and Crawford Pre Primary School all lie within close reach.
Some enterprising Chartwell AH owners have converted their properties into boutique Bed & Breakfasts and conference facilities and a number of renowned horse-riding yards have also taken root within its boundaries. Many a swimmer also comes to Chartwell AH to hone their skills at the resident Chartwell Aquatic swimming school.
For all its draw cards, Chartwell AH has not escaped the recession unscathed though. Dalglish says sales have tapered off, a fact which can be backed up by the latest Lightstone report on the area which states that to date, only eight properties have been sold in Chartwell AH in 2011 at an average price of R2,5m. The majority of properties are put on the market at R5m and R6m but these apparently just don’t move. A number of owners have also taken in extended family in a bid to cut back on costs.
Arguably another sign of the times is the fact that Chartwell’s rental market is also experiencing an uptick. Cottages in the area lease from R2,500pm upwards and families are leasing some of the homes from around R7000pm. Dip aside, Dalglish reckons Chartwell will inevitably “revert to trend” in the long run. “Prices and sales have taken a knock but the suburb’s fundamentals, particularly the fact that it is so family-friendly, appealing and convenient, will undoubtedly stand it in good stead come an upswing.”