Oaklands Area Review

Private Property South Africa
Ben Kelly

Different suburbs are known for different things. Some, like Hillbrow, have achieved a notoriety over the years as the demographics or the city changed and many of the buildings were allowed to deteriorate to a point where many are unfit for human habitation. Others, such as Houghton, have achieved international fame because of their association with celebrities, such as being the Johannesburg home of Nelson Mandela.Then there are the others, those suburbs that simply exist quietly, with no celebrity, no massive shopping districts and no stations for the Gautrain. Many of these suburbs in the older parts of Jo’burg have remained relatively stable for many years, with additional development passing them by. This is not to say that these suburbs have remained as they were 40 years ago, many of the houses have been renovated, and others have been torn down and replaced with monuments to modern architecture, both good and bad, while others have made way for sectional title developments.Oaklands is one of these suburbs. Just a quick turn off the road running from Louis Botha to Oxford Road, Oaklands is a suburb where the one acre stand is still king. If you take a look at an aerial view of the suburb, three things will stand out for you: lots of trees, lots of pools and lots of tennis courts. The first two could be a statement that was true in many areas of Jo’burg, but the tennis court is a legacy of old Johannesburg that has remained to this day.Far from remaining stagnant Oaklands has, over the past 5 years, proved itself as a good investment area for property owners. In its wealth segment it was not the top-performing suburb, with suburbs such as Hyde Park and Forest Town outperforming it. However, with an increase in prices by 65% between 2005 and 2010, it still ranks in the top 5. In the period from 2008 to 2010, when the property market started to slow the value in Oaklands came to the fore with an increase of 14% during the period. The only suburb - in its segment - that outperformed it over the time period was Eagle Canyon Golf Estate, but this can largely be attributed to the newish development continuing to establish itself as one of the premium estates in north-west Johannesburg.Of the recent sales, one of the noticeable trends has been that 20% of the sellers have been in the 65 years and older category, with almost all the buyers coming from the 36 to 49-year-old sector. As a premium suburb this is to be expected as owners tend to buy into the area and then hold onto the properties until it is time to downsize. The younger sector of the market, while making up around 20% of recent buyers are not typically the target market for this type of suburb as properties in Oaklands are in the premium sector of the market, something that is typically out of the reach of younger home buyers.One of the benefits that Oaklands has is its proximity to key areas for business, shopping and entertainment, with Norwood and its restaurants close by, as well as Rosebank and the Gautrain just up the road, getting around is pretty easy. The M1 Highway is also a stone’s throw away making Sandton, Woodmead and the CBD easy to get to.Although Oaklands has matured over the years and some of the stands have been sub-divided, it has retained its warm tree-lined feel and it’s this that continues to attract buyers.

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