Refurbishment and Demand on the Rise in Mayfair

Private Property South Africa

In stark contrast to many other areas of Johannesburg, property market activity and business in general in the bustling suburb of Mayfair is brisk. That’s the news from Sharifah Saib of RE/MAX 2000 which services the area.

Mayfair is well-established and famed for being a busy commercial and retail hub. All manner of shops and flea markets have taken root in the area over the years, the most notable of which are Oriental Plaza, Dragon City and China Mart. Local and foreign traders alike sell their wares at these outlets which stock a wide variety of products ranging from fireworks, kimonos and crockery at the Chinese outlets to samoosas, fabric and spices at Oriental Plaza.

According to Saib, business has apparently been so good that Oriental Plaza has announced plans to expand in the near future. Interestingly, a number of B&B’s have also sprung up to cater to overnighting businessmen. Mayfair’s burgeoning business has had a tangible impact on the local property market. Saib says an increasing number of the area’s traders are looking to settle down in the area given the convenience of living within close proximity of the area’s many outlets and the associated decrease in travelling costs this brings.

The latest Lightstone report on the area backs up this statement. According to the report, the average freehold price has jumped over R270 000 from last year. In 2010 freehold homes were selling for R596 000 on average. These properties are now moving at R867 000 on average. Mayfair homes typically feature three to four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a lounge, kitchen and dining room and stand astride plots measuring 450sqm’s. Saib says top end Mayfair freehold homes can sell for as much as R1, 5m and are in high demand with buyers looking for family homes.

The fact that a number of clinics and schools including Bephelo Primary School, Bree Street Primary School, Crown Reef Primary School and Mayfair Convent also lie within close reach also does much to attract family orientated buyers to the area she notes.

Says Saib: “Another sign that Mayfair’s is booming is the fact that developers are snapping up some of the more dilapidated properties, demolishing them and constructing upmarket two and three bedroom apartments in their place. These properties are then placed on the market at prices ranging from R700 000 to R800 000. Many of the outgoing pensioners have taken to selling their properties to developers for this very purpose.”

In terms of Mayfair’s rental market, Saib says rental properties are hard to come by. Properties that do become available are usually snapped up within days and lease for between R6000 and R7000pm. Sectional Title properties are also fairly thin on the ground; Lightstone statistics state that these types of properties account for just over 6% of Mayfair’s market. Interestingly, akin to Brixton and Vrededorp, Saib says that these properties are increasingly being let out as student accommodation.

“Overall Mayfair is positively booming,” remarks Saib. “I am battling to keep up with demand and am confident about the direction in which the market is heading. To put things into perspective around 50% of Mayfair homes placed on the market sell within a month. Suffice to say I believe the market has bottomed out and an upswing is definitely on the horizon.”

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