Malvern - The Other Side of the Hill

Private Property South Africa
Ben Kelly

Situated on both sides of Jules Street in eastern Johannesburg, Malvern is one of those suburbs that many people have heard about but not too many have actually visited. The suburb, which sits just over the hill from the more celebrated Kensington, is more in the mode of the old working class suburbs of Johannesburg than anything else.

Property prices in the suburb are on the low side, with the average selling price of R425 000. This makes the suburb a good option for those that are looking to move out of the townships, or just take that first step on the property ladder. The long and thin nature of the suburb also means that the quality of properties varies depending on where they are situated along the east-west axis. The further east one is situated (further away from town and closer to Bedfordview) the better the quality of the properties.

The suburb is 98 percent freehold properties, but this includes both freestanding houses as well as some very nice, secure blocks of flats. It also has a strong community of established owners, with more than 40 percent having owned their properties for more than 11 years. Older owners also have a strong presence with about 20 percent of owners over 65. This could also indicate that a considerable percentage of the properties are rented out and the owners live elsewhere.

Over the last 12 months sales have fallen equally into two main groups those in the under R400 000 category and those between R400 000 and R800 000. However, with an average municipal valuation of close to R600 000, there is a considerable gap between the two values in relative terms and this indicates not only the drop in values in this area since the municipal valuations were done at the height of the property boom, but also the potential upside should factors such as urban regeneration and an overall rise in property prices come into play.

Location-wise, Malvern has a lot to recommend it. It has easy access to both the M2 and N3 highways and Kensington and Bedforview are both close by. For shopping Eastgate and Bedford Centre are a few minutes drive, making it easy to get to and from the shops without much stress.

Although there are plenty of good private schools reasonably close to Malvern, the economic profile of the suburb means that schools like Jeppe Boys and Girls and Queens High School (all schools with long-standing reputations in Johannesburg) will be more appropriate for those buyers looking to further their children’s education.

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