Observatory, with its proximity to the centre of Johannesburg is a suburb that could easily have slid downhill. However, although prices have not escalated on a par with other suburbs that might have been considered in the same bracket 20 years ago, the suburb still offers luxury living in an exclusive environment.
The main reasons for the lower price inflation in this suburb is its proximity to other suburbs that have not fared quite so well over the years, namely Yeoville, Bellevue and Bezuidenhout Valley. However, its position up on the hill overlooking the east of Johannesburg, with some properties perched on Linksfield ridge makes for an great view.
Houses in Observatory tend to be large, with four and five bedrooms not unusual. Stands are large and many of them have tennis courts and pools and some of the pools are large for a domestic swimming pool, great if you want a workout in your own backyard.
Average prices in the suburb are a bit deceptive with some sales in the R0 to R800 000 zone dragging down the average purchase price. However, of the 33 sales in the past 12 months 15 were sold for between R1.5 million and R3 million with an average selling price in this bracket of R2.4 million. For buyers looking for quality in this area, this is the price range that offers the highest quality properties.
Turnover of properties is not the highest as there are over 800 freehold properties in the suburb and only 33 changed hands in the last 12 months. In addition almost 50 percent of owners have owned their properties for more than 11 years, indicating a strong level of community. The suburb is dominated by older owners with more than 60 percent of owners over 50 and 75 percent of recent buyers aged from 35 to 65.
Apart from its position high up on the hill, Observatory is well positioned for access to the CBD and the east of Johannesburg. It is close to Bruma, Bedfordview and a short drive from Norwood, for those people who like to get out a bit. A bonus is the proximity of Cyrildene, which has established itself as the centre of the Chinese community in Jo’burg.
The suburb also offers easy access to some of Jo’burg’s best schools, including Sacred Heart College, St John’s and Rhodean. Other schools, such as Athlone Girls, King David’s Linksfield and Queens High School are also on the doorstep. Whether it is private or government the options for education are wide open.