“Improve, don’t move” seems to be the dominant theme of the property market in Craighall right now, although buying and selling is still going on if at a more subdued pace says Dieter Konieczny, a resident of the area and estate agent with RE/MAX Central which services the area.
Explains Konieczny: “Sales in Craighall have slowed down in line with prevailing market conditions. Under better circumstances, those residents who might ordinarily have put their homes on the market have opted instead to improve or extend their properties to give them the extra features or space they need. This isn’t altogether a bad thing at all in that not only does such activity satisfy the immediate property needs of residents but it puts these home owners in a strong selling position when the market improves once more, as it will.”
Meanwhile, it is by no means gloom and doom for Craighall which has several factors working in its favour. The suburb is one of Johannesburg’s most established and charming with its origins reaching back to 1902 when a Scott William Rattray, divided his then farm into a residential and recreational development named Craighall after his birthplace in Blairgowrie, Scotland.
The lakes and parkland which made up the recreational portion of Rattray’s original development still exists today as Delta Park in neighbouring Craighall Park. Residents and outsiders alike regularly bring their horses and dogs to the park and many a picnic is enjoyed within its well-maintained boundaries. Another natural boon is the nearby Braamfontein Spruit, a meandering, cascading delight which is unpolluted, flows year round and can become quite a spectacle during heavy rain storms.
Geographically, Craighall is bordered by Hyde Park, Dunkeld and Parkhurst and is within close reach of Sandton and Rosebank. The commercial and retail appeal of these outlying suburbs has stood Craighall in good stead over the years and will no doubt do so again. Moreover, Craighall is also fully serviced and provides easy access to all other nodes of Johannesburg thanks to the fact that it is situated between Jan Smuts Avenue and William Nicol-an important consideration in light of rising fuel and commuting costs.
On the schooling front, Craighall offers a selection of nearby sought- after facilities such as Craighall Primary School, I.R Griffith Primary School, Damelin Eden High School and Hyde Park High School.
Property-wise, more than half of the suburb’s ‘Craighall Acres’ (so named because they measure 3, 850sqm’s) have been sub-divided over the years to make way for upmarket sectional title and cluster developments. The latest Lightstone report on the area cites the average sectional title price as weighing in at R1,3m up from 2010’s average of R1,059m. The same report puts the average freehold price at R2, 6m, down from 2010’s average of R2,9m. According to Konieczny, Craighall’s top freehold homes can sell for around R3m.
And although sub-division has occurred on a fairly significant scale, Konieczny says Craighall remains a spacious, country-like treed suburb characterised by grand old homes. A few of its streets have been boomed which has improved overall security levels, the suburb is tranquil and is home to a healthy mix of residents who have a vested interest in maintaining the suburb’s good reputation.
“In short, the area is well set to benefit when the current market cycle turns and those who are spending money on home improvements in Craighall now will reap the benefits later,” concludes Konieczny.