Northcliff - A View from the Top

Private Property South Africa
Ben Kelly

Northcliff, that pinnacle of achievement, when you know you have arrived because you have a view of the entire north of Johannesburg, and beyond, from the ridge that features the highest point in Johannesburg.

Unlike the suburbs like Houghton and Saxenwold, where the ‘old money’ has traditionally resided and the Dainfern’s of the world where the ‘new money’ hangs out Northcliff offers something that few other suburbs can match: large stands, great views and awesome properties that have been built more than five years ago. All of these factors combine to account for the average selling price of more than R2.1 million this year.

Of the 169 properties sold over the past year 24 sold for more than R3 million and 111 between R1.5 million and R3 million, indicating the higher-end market that dominates the freehold market in this suburb. The other noticeable thing about Northcliff is the size of the suburb. Encompassing several extensions it stretches from Gordon Road in the southwest and almost reaches the Beyers Naude intersection in the northeast. This provides a massive variety of properties including those at the top of the hill and those on relatively flat ground at the bottom.

As with most higher-end suburbs owners in Northcliff tend to fall into the older segment of the market with almost 20 percent of owners over 65 and more than 50 percent over 50.

There are suburbs were there are still bargains to be had, but finding one in Northcliff is likely to be difficult as owners know that simply having a Northcliff address adds a premium to any price demanded. In fact, people have been known to describe their houses as “in Northcliff” even when they weren’t, just to justify a higher selling price.

The other benefit of Northcliff is that its position close to shopping centres such as Cresta and a short drive from Melville makes it easy to get to where you need to be. The roads leading up to the top of the hill, however, are narrow and twisty and that can add a good few minutes to any travelling time. Further down the hill Beyers Naude is right there and heading to the highway is relatively easy.

Because of the broad swath that the suburb cuts across the north-west of Johannesburg it is tricky to describe access to educational institutions as some may be right on the doorstep of some residents and on the other side of the hill for others. There are, however, two good government primary schools in the area: Cliffview and Northcliff Primary and one of the top government high schools, Northcliff High School. There are a variety of private schools of all varieties in the area, but interestingly there are none of the marquee private schools right on the doorstep of the suburb.

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