Sellers happy to hold out for their asking price

Joburg’s property market has cooled — but the city’s top suburbs are still attracting buyers willing to splash out more than R10-million for a luxury home.

Estate agents this week said the two interest rate hikes this year have not hamstrung the city’s new super- rich entrepreneurs and corporate executives and that some were splashing out between R10-million and R26-million for prime property.

“Property is still the best investment,” said Graham Ewing, a Joburg- based property valuator.

He said buyers could still expect property price increases, as long as there was demand for residential property in a suburb.

Such suburbs include Hyde Park, Sandhurst and Morningside, north of the city, Westcliff in the west and Bedfordview in the east.

According to Seeff Properties, which recently sold two homes priced at R17-million and R12-million in Sandhurst, there is a growing number of buyers hunting for homes in the city’s top-end suburbs.

Chairman, Samuel Seeff, said a number of sellers in these suburbs were holding out for the right price.

“Despite the fact that it may be a buyers market around the country, sellers in the upper end of the market are often not forced to sell and economic conditions will not dictate a drop in their desired price.

“Generally, these sellers withdraw their properties from the market or keep them on quietly until the right buyer comes along, offering them their price.”

Jawitz Properties’ Sandhurst agent Wayne Gosher said a client had kept a R15-million cluster home on the market for over a year until the asking price had been achieved.

“Some of the city’s top suburbs are not driven by interest rates but, instead, are relatively immune to the normal economic factors,” he said.

Gosher, who was involved in the sale of a 10000m² home in Empire Place for R26-million this year, said sellers in Sandhurst had the financial means to wait out most economic downturns.

This, he said, resulted in properties being withdrawn from the market rather than dropping in price.

“Most of our clients are corporate executives with huge interests in the stock market ... performance of their investments and shares normally determine how much they are prepared to spend,” said Gosher.

He said a number of international investors and corporate executives saw Sandhurst and Hyde Park as “safe investments”.

So far this year, property transactions in Sandhurst and Hyde Park have been worth R348.8-million.

Deeds office records show 13 sales in Sandhurst in the last eight months totalling R250-million and 22 sales in Hyde Park worth R98.7-million.

Gosher said the shortage of available land for development in Sandhurst and Hyde Park was also sending prices through the roof.

While Absa bank’s house price index puts the price of the average suburban home at R816000, sales figures provided by The Knowledge Factory, the firm which compiles the authoritative SA Property Transfer Guide, puts the average price in Sandhurst at R19.2-million and R4.4-million in Hyde Park.

Deeds records show that businessman Christopher Neil Hellmann earlier this year spent R11-million on a 4448m² home in Stewart Place to claim a stake in Sandhurst.

Meanwhile, some Sandhurst and Hyde Park residents have cashed in their property investments.

Sheila Boardman, wife of Nedbank chief executive Tom Boardman, has sold her stately 4385m² home in 4th Road in Hyde Park for R10-million. Loum Diagne, an Ivorian businessman, pocketed R9-million for the sale of his 3999m² Hyde Park home.

Deeds records show that a 4633m² home in Tweedale Road, which was valued at R2.2-million 10-years ago, was recently sold for R8.2-million.

Firzt Realty Company, meanwhile, has calculated that a buyer interested in a R5.5-million Sandton home would need a monthly salary of R175960 to pay the R52788 monthly repayments over 20-years.

Earlier this month, businessman Terry Mclintock paid R14.5-million for slain mining magnate Brett Kebble’s Inanda mansion, north of Joburg.

Another big spender, Afrox Special Products general manager Alexander Wasielewski spent R26-million for his home in Morningside, Extension 40.

Joburg resident Nicola Gnodde splashed out R17-million for a home in Woolston Road, Westcliff, while businessman Franco Barocas acquired his 3039m² home in the same street for R10.5-million.

A four-bedroom mansion in Pallinghurst in Westcliff, priced at R2.2-million in 1997, is now on the market for R15-million.

Article by: Simpiwe Piliso - www.sundaytimes.co.za