Parktown in the Pink

Private Property South Africa

Parktown appears to be bucking national property market trends. While many of the country’s suburbs have taken a knock over the past few years, market activity is brisk in Parktown and property values are steadily improving.

That’s the picture painted by local area specialists and the latest Lightstone report on the area. Known as one of Johannesburg’s oldest and most prestigious suburbs, Parktown’s old world appeal and gracious homes are typically sought out by buyers upgrading from Parkview and Parkhurst and families seeking spacious surrounds and an upmarket address.

According to Lightstone statistics, the price of an average freehold home in Parktown jumped from just over R4 million in 2011 to R12, 4 million within the first months of 2012. Of course this figure is not really a true indication of the area’s average freehold price as it is only represents the first few sales of the year which were obviously ‘big ticket’ sales. No doubt Parktown’s average freehold property price will level out as the year progresses. That said, the sales already achieved to date and current activity levels point to a good year for Parktown going forward.

Moreover, it must be said that high-end sales are not all that uncommon in Parktown with some properties priced at R16 million. Unsurprisingly these types of properties take longer to sell than their more affordably priced counterparts but, importantly, they are selling say the experts. Lightstone states that 28 freehold properties sold in 2011. The area’s Sectional Title property market also performed well with 45 of these properties selling in 2011 at an average price of R577 000.

Parktown has long appealed to aspirant property owners. Situated between Westcliff and Saxonworld, it is filled with an eclectic collection of grand homes, many of which were constructed by some of Johannesburg’s first Randlords. Many of the homes were designed to impress and were fitted with turrets and towers; a style which was later referred to as ‘Parktown Baronial’.

Parktown is also synonymous with the famous British architect Herbert Baker who dominated South Africa’s architectural scene for two decades from 1892 to 1912. In addition to shaping much of Parktown, Baker built a home for himself in the suburb named The Stonehouse. The Stonehouse and a number of Parktown’s magnificent old homes as well as Johannesburg’s oldest home named ‘The View’ (circa 1896) can be seen via weekly tours which are arranged by the Parktown and Westcliff Heritage Trust.

In keeping with the suburb’s unique history, it has been mandated that homes over 60 years old cannot have their original architecture changed and any alterations or additions need to be in keeping with the original style of the house. The upshot of the mandate is that while many of Parktown’s properties have been upgraded, many have stayed true to form and still feature original elements such as pressed ceilings, wooden floors and stone fireplaces.

Heritage and old-world charm aside, Parktown also has locality working in its favour. Residents can reach the city centre, Rosebank, Sandton and Hyde Park with ease and the area is well serviced by top notch schools and medical centres. The JHB Zoo, Zoo Lake and the appealing, dynamic nodes of Parkview and Melville also lie within close reach.

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