There are some suburbs which just seem to have everything going for them. The old northern suburb of Orchards in Johannesburg is a case in point.
Ensconced between Norwood and Oaklands, Orchards is a leafy suburb characterised by a mix of large, gracious homes (which can reportedly sell for as much as R5 million in some instances) and upmarket cluster developments which have mushroomed in place of the large plots which once characterised the area.
According to Avril Novick of Jawitz Properties which services the area, a typical Orchards cluster features three to four bedrooms (the main one of which is usually en-suite) spa bathrooms, stylish kitchens and generously proportioned open plan lounges and dining rooms, all of which are set amidst spacious gardens.
Interestingly, Novick believes that Orchards has reached capacity in terms of additional cluster development as the minimum amount of land now required for developments of this nature is reportedly 700sqm’s. Land measuring this size is apparently scarce which is good news for the suburb’s existing cluster homes as a lack of this type of development effectively helps underpins the value and exclusivity of these properties.
According to the latest Lightstone report on the area, 30 freehold properties sold in Orchards in 2011 at an average price of R1, 9 million. Sectional Title properties are few and far between with these types of properties accounting for only 10 percent of Orchards’ property market. Lightstone statistics place the average sale price of these properties at R629 000.
Although many of the original old homes are now no more, a few have been preserved for posterity or converted such as the Satyagraha Guest House which was once briefly the home of Mahatma Gandhi. Located at 15 Pine Road, Satyagraha Guest House features eight rooms and an exhibition area which invites guests to explore Gandhi’s principles. Only vegetarian food is served and no ‘noisy’ entertainment is allowed.
Novick remarks that young families in particular find Orchards to their liking given the many primary and secondary schools which abound in the area such as Maryvale Secondary School, Rodean and King David’s. Orchards also plays host to a number of synagogues and churches and it lies within close proximity of a number of clinics and several golf clubs including the Houghton Golf Club and the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. The Melrose Bird Sanctuary is also easily accessible.
In terms of retail amenities, Orchards is positively spoilt. The suburb enjoys easy access to Norwood’s trendy high street which offers a plethora of fashionable shops, restaurants and coffee bars. It also lies within easy reach of Sandton City and Melrose Arch as well as a large hypermarket, post office, all major banks and satellite stores.
Two additional ‘plus points’ working in Orchard’s favour are the fact that a number of major arterial routes feed into the area which affords residents quick access to major business nodes. The other ‘plus’ is the fact that neighbourhood security protocols have been implemented such as boomed roads and regular security patrols.
Novick says the fact that Orchard’s property doesn’t stay on the market for long and that most attain their asking price pays testament to the area’s appeal and ability to perform even when the property market is sluggish.