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River Club Property for Buyers With Budgets From R2m

Category Property News

The peaceful tree-lined enclave of River Club, located within Greater Sandton and nestled in the heart of Johannesburg’s most expensive suburbs, has seen the average value of sectional title properties increase by more than 90% in just six years.

This is according to Sue Alison, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, who says as large, modern designer houses also slowly change the face of the suburb, properties in this "haven of tranquillity" just a short distance from the bustle of Sandton’s powerhouse CBD are increasingly in demand from buyers with budgets from around R2 million to R10 million. 

Among the reasons the River Club residential market is so active is that there has been minimal commercial development in the suburb, and while substantial upmarket houses still dominate the property landscape, the slow but steady increase in sectional title developments has primarily been of the cluster or townhouse nature rather than imposing blocks of flats. 

Alison says although it hasn’t changed the character of the suburb, Deeds Office reports reveal a growing number of sectional title properties in River Club, with higher sales volumes reflecting the demand for these homes. 

“In 2009, only 29 sectional title properties changed hands at an average sale price of R1.2 million. Last year, 44 sales in this market segment were recorded at an average price of around R2.3 million, nearly double the average price just six years previously.” 

Alison says sectional title developments have made the entry level to the River Club market far more accessible to first-time buyers, and the suburb is becoming increasingly popular with young families. 

River Club offers buyers a selection of freestanding properties in varying price bands, from unrenovated older houses starting at around R3 million, to modern design masterpieces in the R10 million-plus bracket. 

According to Alison, the mid-level older houses that can still occasionally be found for between R3 million and R3.5 million offer savvy buyers the opportunity for a quick and excellent return on investment because once they’re renovated, they can fetch up to R6 million. 

However, she says they find that the bulk of their clients interested in these properties aren’t investment buyers. She says they are people who modernise the houses then generally live in them for several years, raising children close to the area’s excellent schools and enjoying the secure, suburban lifestyle. 

The upper end of the market has also shown notable growth in recent years, with the top end of the bar continually being raised and some properties now realising prices in the R10 million-plus price band.” 

According to Deeds Office figures, the average sale price of all properties in River Club proper in 2015 was just under R4.5 million, with average prices in the extensions varying between R1.625 million and R8 million. 

Alison says this disparity in average values in the extensions is created by the number of sectional title properties in each area, as well as the types of houses. She says certain extensions have a higher concentration of sectional title developments, such as around Panner’s Lane and Borrowdale Road, which are especially popular with younger investors. 

Alison says the positions of areas within River Club, as well as the type of properties on offer, also contribute to the vast difference in average prices. 

“The freehold homes surrounding the Golf Course are more expensive and especially sought after as they overlook the pristine course and boast scenic views with dams, bridges, trees and thriving birdlife.” 

Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, attributes River Club’s growing popularity to multiple strong appeal elements that tick more key boxes than many other areas. 

He says residents enjoy peace of mind, and peace and quiet, as the suburb is predominantly boomed and, cushioned by its affluent neighbours, is buffered from noise from the N1 and N3 circle of major roads. 

However, he says River Club still offers close proximity to strategic commercial nodes and top retail centres in the area, which ticks an increasingly important box for home buyers in the face of escalating traffic congestion in Johannesburg. 

Geffen says another key drawcard is that the suburb offers a myriad of recreational facilities. From safe parks and biking and hiking trails to a horse riding school at the popular Field and Study Centre and the exclusive River Club Golf Course, which is regularly rated among the top 10 in South Africa and known to have some of the best finishing holes in the country. 

“If it weren’t for the high profile of the golf course, many people would probably not even be aware of the small low key suburb in which it’s situated.” 

According to Alison, one of the suburb’s greatest and most unique appeal factors is its strong sense of community and "village feel", with clean tree-lined streets where children still play outside and residents are greeted by name when they stroll into the neighbourhood eatery, Luigi’s. 

She says the adjoining park is a popular meeting place where neighbours gather for a chat while their children play. It’s also where many community events are organised and where residents rally together to improve their environment and make a difference. 

For instance, she says The Clean Spruit group organises regular clean ups of the Braamfontein Spruit on River Club’s northern border while Park Run offers weekend fun runs from The Riverside shopping centre - a great way to exercise outdoors safely and meet new faces in the community. 

Although there is still a small amount of land available for development in River Club, it’s becoming a scarce commodity. And as is happening in most other northern Johannesburg suburbs as a consequence, older homes on sizeable stands are increasingly being demolished to make way for small cluster developments and, in some instances, designer homes. 

Geffen says River Club offers a desirable lifestyle in a peaceful and scenic environment, which is now rare in Johannesburg. He says with its broad range of properties, it is likely to ride the wave of the current economic slump better than many other suburbs.

Author: Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty

Submitted 23 Jun 16 / Views 3229