Norwood - where old meets new

Private Property South Africa

Norwood is a suburb of diversity. Its restaurants offer a veritable smorgasbord of cuisines, a mixed populous has taken up residence and the properties range from diminutive 1920’s houses to uber luxurious designer mansions.

Local Lew Geffen Sotheby’s real estate agent Sylvia Cook describes Norwood as “uncommonly pretty”, a fact she attributes to its age amongst other factors. “Norwood is one of Johannesburg’s oldest suburbs,” explains Cook. “Many of its properties date back to the 1920’s and 1930’s which, combined with its oak lined streets, tin roofs and high walls lend the area a distinctive old world charm.”

But there’s more to Norwood than its longevity and old world appeal. Over the years the area has evolved to include a number of contemporary properties, opening up the area to a whole new set of buyers. Indeed, Norwood now offers properties to suit just about every taste, the bulk of which stand astride plots measuring 500m2 on average.

According to Cook, many of Norwood’s older properties face the street and were originally quite small and cold. In a bid to make them more comfortable and spacious, owners through the years have added north facing rooms and revamped where necessary. “Happily, the majority of these owners preserved the Oregon pine floors, beautiful pressed ceilings and appealing stained glass windows which give these properties their unique cottage-like character. Today these properties can sell from R1m to R3, 2m depending on their condition…” notes Cook.

Norwood’s new designer homes are typically double store affairs featuring two or three en-suite bedrooms, spacious kitchens, a pool, lounge and dining room and ample garden space. Cook says these homes are usually priced at between R1,5 and R3,2m. She recently sold one of these contemporary “gems” in Algemon Road for over R3m. The house in question was built by a developer who sold it to a young couple who in turn beautifully outfitted the property. One of the most notable features of the house was the appealing wood cladding which was fitted to every wall corner of the house.

But it is Norwood’s sectional title properties which are currently proving the most popular. First time buyers in particular are gravitating towards the suburb’s two most prominent developments of this nature, specifically, Grantwood Close and Victoria Gate. Units on offer vary and range in price from R700 000 to R1, 5m.

In addition to its “mixed bag” of properties, Norwood is also home to the newly refurbished Ascot Hotel which has become a major draw card of late. The suburb’s Grant Avenue is also home to a collection of boutiques, coffee bars and cafes and a new, upmarket mini mall also recently opened in the area. These elements, coupled with the colourful local populous, properties and prevailing Bohemian nature of the area has led the area to be likened to Parkhurst and Melville.

According to Cook, many buyers come to Norwood to start families citing the area’s charm, good infrastructure, top notch schools and proximity to retail and commercial hubs such as Rosebank, Hyde Park and Sandton as the reason for doing so.

The latest Lightstone report on the area lends credence to this remark, citing approximately 44% of Norwood’s recent buyers as young adults. Cook adds that the fact that the area boasts a good safety record, its properties are manageable and the local rates and taxes are quite affordable further bolsters the area’s appeal.

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