The enclave of Fairmount in the north east of Johannesburg is one of the few suburbs which has barely changed over the years, not losing its closely-knit suburban atmosphere centered around the synagogues and reputable schools in the area to the predominant encroachment of cluster developments.
So says Howard Hoff, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, who adds: “The credit crunch never really affected the market as demand has always exceeded supply in this sought-after suburb where property owners generally live in their homes for between 15 and 25 years.”
In Fairmount spacious family homes on generous stands still dominate the property landscape and there are only a couple of apartment and town house complexes.
“Property prices here are also still accessible and cater to most budgets,” says Hoff, “ranging between R1.6 million for an unrenovated house if you are lucky enough to find one, and R6.6m for a luxurious modern home with all the bells and whistles”.
“The most popular properties are four bedroom houses under R3m and three bedroom cluster homes for under R2.4m and we field several inquiries every week for the latter.”
Hoff says that property values have remained steady over the past decade with average house prices nudging up yearly.
“However, the average price of a house in Fairmount only breached the R2m mark at the end of 2013 when the market surged and the average sale price reached R2.49m in 2014, growing further with 2015 ending on R2.84m.”
The only notable change experienced in the suburb over the last two decades was the Genesis on Fairmount development which encompasses a modern shopping mall, apartments and conference centre and its launch caused s spike in the slow growth of the sectional title market.
Hoff says: “Usually only between three and six sectional title properties change hands a year in Fairmount, however, after the launch of Genesis on Fairmount, the Deeds Office registered 67 sectional title sales in 2014″.
“The apartment market immediately stabilized again thereafter and in 2015 only five sectional title sales were registered.”
He adds: “This could be about to change in the near future as there is a large stand of more than 10 000m² that is awaiting city council approval for a new development which is still under wraps, although it’s very likely that sectional title residential units will be a significant feature.”
According to Hoff this could also spur the slow rental and investment markets in the area which aren’t very active due to the fact that most investors buy property to live in Fairmount.
According to Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen International Realty, another aspect that has remained constant is the buyer and resident demographic in the area.
“Fairmount is still a predominately Jewish community with young Jewish families having made up the majority of new buyers for the past 40 years. The synagogues and learning centers as well as other educational facilities are the main draw-cards in the area.”
Geffen adds other strong appeal factors include variety of retail options and sporting facilities within close proximity as well the convenience of having ample excellent parks and recreational facilities scattered within the suburb.
“Huddle Park Golf & Recreation, Houghton Golf Club, Observatory Golf Club, Bruma Lake and Gilloolys are all within four kilometres and the trendy suburb of Norwood, with its pavement-style restaurants and cafes and vibrant local culture is also only a short drive away.”
Residents also enjoy the suburbs convenient location which offers easy access to many popular nodes.
“Fairmount is snugly bound by Athol Street, George Avenue and Louis Botha Avenue and lies just east of the M1 which makes commuting around the busy city relatively easy.”
Geffen concludes: “The current economic slump has been felt with house sales having slowed marginally, but the general forecast for the area remains very positive as demand is still strong and renovations remain a common feature.”