Johannesburg’s Observatory has been tipped as the next Houghton by local Chas Everitt agent Jose Dias. According to Dias who has serviced the area since 2004 alongside Bruma, Cyrildene, Dewetshof and Linksfield Ridge, Observatory has all the makings of a well-to-do suburb. A number of factors could well make this a reality he says. Observatory is well established, aesthetically appealing and enjoys a birds-eye vantage point over the city, affording many of its residents magnificent vistas. “By and large Observatory homes are well constructed and maintained and much of the area has been boomed off which has decreased the incidence of crime significantly, notes Dias.“Green nodes abound, the local Observatory golf course is highly popular and upmarket amenities, quality schools and attractions such as the Apartheid Museum are within close reach. The general infrastructure is good and Observatory properties have, according to Lightstone’s latest report, generally maintained their values despite the tough trading conditions of recent years. The suburb also shares similar characteristics to that of Houghton or Bryanston in that its homes are typically generously proportioned and sit astride large plots of land. Some plots measure in excess of 2, 500sqm’s in some instances which appeals greatly to those seeking large family homes.These drawcards aside, one of the strongest factors working in Observatory’s favour is the fact that sub-division of Observatory properties has not manifested on a significant level and looks set to stay that way remarks Dias. “Although positive in some respects, subdivision tends to put strain on existing infrastructure - especially in older, more established suburbs such as Observatory. Moreover, it can sometimes spoil the look and feel of an area.“Sweeping lawns and large, solidly built homes will always appeal to discerning buyers. As such, come the inevitable upswing in the property market, Observatory will, in all likelihood, find itself very much in vogue.”And as the adage goes, now would be a good time to invest in a home in the area. Buyers can currently pick up a large freehold Observatory property for just R2m. Real bargains are also to be had in the few homes in the area which require a little TLC. For now though Observatory is performing much like any other suburb in Johannesburg says Dias.To date, as per Lightstone statistics, 13 properties have sold during the course of 2011. A fair amount of stock is on the market and sales are still being hampered somewhat by the stringent credit protocols implemented by the banks and general lack of financial liquidity. At present, no new developments have been earmarked for Observatory. Rental-wise, the majority of the properties in the area are owned and lived in by the owners; thus rental stock is fairly thin on the ground. Relative to other suburbs Observatory is also thin on sectional title properties. Indeed, according to Lightstone, sectional title properties account for just 10% of the area’s property mix. Those sectional title properties that are available range in price from R500 000 to R800 000 on average.Interestingly, Black Diamonds have cottoned on to the inherent value Observatory offers and have begun purchasing homes in the area, which is a sign of things to come he adds.
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