Strubens Valley: Not The Road To Nowhere Anymore

Private Property South Africa
Ben Kelly

For many years Strubens Valley was a suburb on the road to nowhere, or more accurately, the last suburb on Hendrik Potgieter as it left the developed areas of north-west Johannesburg and headed towards more open areas in Ruimsig, Muldersdrift and out towards Magaliesburg and Rustenburg.Today, that could hardly be further from the truth. Nestled in between some of the fastest developing areas on the West Rand, Strubens Valley remains something of an oasis in among the rapidly multiplying sectional title developments and large retail developments. In fact, Clearwater Mall, which has just had a significant expansion, sits right on the edge of the western side of Sturbens Valley.Strubens Valley has three sides to the tale. There is the far eastern part of the suburb, composed mostly of sectional title developments and typically newer than the rest of the suburb. This section abuts Radiokop and is separated from the rest of the suburb by a wetland. If it were not for a line on a map, a casual observer would look at this section and assume that it belonged with Radiokop rather than with Strubens Valley.The more established part of Strubens Valley sits to the east of Hendrik Potgieter and is mostly freehold houses with pretty tree-lined streets and cosy homes, many of which might be described by estate agents as starter homes.The third part to the suburb sits to the west of Hendrik Potgieter on the same side as Clearwater Mall and is a mix of freehold and sectional title homes.Because of the physical barriers of the wetlands and Hendrik Potgieter, which is getting busier every day it is almost easier to see the suburb as three distinct units rather than as one integrated whole. One benefit of the structure of the suburb is that, apart from Hendrik Potgieter, there are no large through roads, so once you are in the suburb the streets are reasonably quiet.Property prices in the suburb have escalated quite nicely over time, with freehold prices increasing from an average of R529,000 in 2004 to R1.07M last year. Sectional title prices have not seen the same level of escalation, however, with the average selling price increasing from R444,000 to R676,000 over the same period. This lower increase in the sectional title sector may, however, have been the result of new, lower priced, developments entering the market.Of more interest is the progress of pricing in the freehold market, which dropped off from R751,000 in 2005 to R398,000 in 2006 with a recovery to R873,000 in 2007 indicating that a significant amount of lower priced stock entered the market in that time period, but that over time that stock has not negatively impacted on the total growth in the freehold market. The age profile of Strubens Valley is strongly slanted towards the younger side of the market with recent buyers coming exclusively from the 18-49 age group. The starter-home status of the suburb is also born out by the sales statistics of the suburb with 50% of recent sellers having owned their properties for less than 5 years and more than 50% of stable owners having owned their properties for less than 5 years. Only 18% of stable owners have owned their properties for 11 years or more, further re-enforcing this opinion.One thing that Strubens Valley has going for it is access to schools. With a variety of both private and government schools within easy reach, it is understandable why younger buyers favour the area.In the immediate vicinity both Constantia Kloof and Panorama Primary are within striking distance, with main roads providing reasonably easy access to private schools such as Charter House and Agape Christian School. From a high-school perspective, Allen Glen and West Ridge are the closest government schools, but Maragon is just down the road in Ruimsig and Aurora and Trinity Colleges are both a shortish drive away.

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