It’s no secret that South Africa’s property market is under pressure. Years of global economic upheaval have taken their toll and it’s not just the average neighbourhood which has been negatively affected. Many of South Africa’s affluent suburbs are taking strain too.
Benmore Gardens in Sandton is a case in point. According to Karen Bosman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s which services the area, Benmore Gardens has experienced a drop in sales and property values in recent times.
“Benmore Gardens has not escaped the global economic turmoil unscathed,” explains Bosman. “We estimate that values have decreased overall by around 15 percent since the halcyon years leading up to 2008. Currently, there is very little movement as owners have effectively battened down the hatches in anticipation of a protracted recovery.”
The latest Lightstone report on the area is in line with Bosman’s comments. According to the report, the average freehold property price has dropped to R3,3 million down from 2010’s average sales price of R3,6 million. Additionally, only 15 freehold properties sold in 2011, down from 25 in 2010.
“Of course a slight dip is to be expected given prevailing property market conditions. That said it must be noted that Benmore Gardens is faring far better than many other suburbs,” says Bosman. “The area is being maintained and owners are looking after their homes and gardens.”
Moreover, although freehold values and sales have decreased, the same Lightstone report indicates a slight increase in Sectional Title values. 2011 Sectional Title properties sold for an average of R1,3 million up from 2010’s values of R1, 2 million. The number of Sectional Title sales also remained on a par with 2010. Bosman attributes Benmore’s slightly stronger Sectional Title performance to the fact that apartment-style living is fast gaining popularity in Sandton.
Development and refurbishment is also continuing in and around the area. One of the most notable examples of refurbishment is the revamp of the Benmore Gardens Shopping Centre which now boasts a sleek, contemporary range of shops. Another example is Sandton City which recently underwent renovations. A new, high end retail wing featuring easy access to Sandton’s Gautrain facilities was also added to the shopping centre.
In terms of residential development, a number of new upmarket apartments and developments have been constructed in the area in recent years. One such development is Waterstone Estate which features luxury properties which are marketed at between R6 million and R14 million. According to Bosman another new mixed-use apartment block is soon to be completed at the corner of Short Road and West Road South.
A number of other factors will undoubtedly act in Benmore Gardens’ favour in the long run. She says the suburb is well established and features a pleasing blend of old and new elements. Benmore Gardens is deemed a ‘safe’ suburb, is aesthetically appealing and offers residents easy access to major routes. A number of good schools and medical facilities also lie within close reach and the addition of the nearby Gautrain station is a draw card in its own right.
In a nutshell, Bosman says Benmore Gardens has all the right ingredients to withstand the current economic storm and is perfect for those seeking the business advantages Sandton yields without having to sacrifice a high standard of family orientated living.