When my parents came to South Africa almost 40 years ago, from the UK, they were looking for a suburb to buy their first house in. At the time some of their friends cautioned against buying in Linden because it was: “a very Afrikaans suburb”. This may have been the case at the time and with two excellent Afrikaans schools, in Hoerskool Linden and Laerskool Louw Geldenhuys, in the heart of the suburb there is no wonder that there was a stronger collection of Afrikaans speakers in the suburb in those days.
Times have changed and Linden has morphed into a cosmopolitan suburb with a mixture of professionals and creative types and families all living in the ruler straight streets that define the suburb. In fact, Linden’s greatest claim to fame has come in the past few months when the country’s attention was focussed on the home of Albertina Sisulu in 2nd Street, Linden.
Linden sits right on the edge of what used to be the border of Johannesburg and Randburg, there is a suburb called Linden Extension which was part of the old Randburg, while Linden proper was part of the old Johannesburg (pre-1994). With its leafy avenues and with easy access to a number of key nodes Linden remains a desirable place for families to settle. The classic Linden property has a large garden, resulting in a number of the properties being subdivided.
Property prices in Linden are on the top end of the middle-class zone with the average freehold property selling for just over R1.6 million. This is about double what properties sold for in 2004. With a slightly higher percentage of owners in the 65+ age group there are probably still some bargains to be had as these houses come onto the market for a number of reasons. These bargains are, however, increasingly rare.
The sectional title market is what gives Linden its bohemian nature. With a lot of flats, especially along 4th Avenue there is accommodation available for a reasonable cost, within easy walking distance of the shops and restaurants along 4th Avenue. Average prices for sectional title units are in the R600 000 range making them significantly more affordable than freehold properties. Linden’s location between suburbs such as Cresta and Northcliff and the Johannesburg means that 1st and 3rd Avenue in particular are quite busy with through traffic, but most of the streets (1st through 10th) are relatively quiet, especially in the more southern streets.
For entertainment, Greenside, Cresta, Melville and Randburg are all within easy reach and there is a smaller social scene along 4th Avenue. Schools are well catered for with Blairgowrie Primary and Franklin Roosevelt Primaries close by and Northcliff High and Rosevelt Park High within easy reach.
There are also two private schools for those looking for a religious education with De La Salle Holy Cross College catering for catholic education and King David’s Victory Park for those of the Jewish faith within walking distance of some parts of the suburb.