Affluent suburb is seeing a signicifant demographic shift as older residents move out to make way for young professionals and families seeking property close to the financial district and good schools
Atholl is a traditionally affluent suburb that’s undergoing a phenomenal demographic shift as older residents move out, making way for younger families.
“Eighty percent of sellers are older residents. They’re people who have raised their families and are looking to move elsewhere,” says Seeff Sandton area agent Justine Roux, pointing out that more properties have been sold in the suburb this year than in 2017.
Many young professionals, including advocates, lawyers and those in the financial sector, are replacing the older folk, using Atholl as a base thanks to its proximity to the financial district and main commercial centres such as Melrose Arch, Illovo, Rosebank and Sandton, according to Roux.
Quite a few captains of industry have also made Atholl their home. Her assertion is supported by statistics from property data company Lightstone, which show that 63% of buyers in the past year were below 50 years of age.
“What’s happening is that property prices have come down like anywhere else in South Africa, but sustainability has been good,” says Roux, who observes that proximity to workplaces, places of worship, shopping centres, private schools and highways has become essential to residents intent on cutting down on the time spent in the traffic.
“People want to live, work and have schooling and tertiary education in the same area.”
This is underscored by the fact that there are numerous essential amenities close at hand for residents. For example, Sandton City, Atholl Square and Village Walk Centre are all in a 2km radius of the suburb.
Roux also states that Atholl has become more culturally mixed – an application for the building of a mosque has just been approved. There is also a synagogue in the neighbourhood.
The properties are generally large freeholds on stands of between 1000m² and 2000m², says Roux, who adds that some of the large, older, traditional properties are being subdivided for more intensive housing developments in order to feed the demand for accommodation close to the financial district.
The new sectionals are more common along the neighbourhood’s peripheral routes, but these have not been welcomed by everyone; some residents have been campaigning against higher density developments on the grounds that the neighbourhood’s integrity must be preserved.
Although homes in Atholl can fetch as much as R25million, the higher transfer costs that buyers must now pay have proved prohibitive in some cases.
One consequence of this is some buyers are opting to buy cheaper homes and spend more on renovations, so saving on the final price.
One example is a young couple who purchased a home for R15m, only to spend an additional R10m on renovations.
Jean Baillie’s favourite places and things to do
1 Atholl Parkrun
I am event director of Atholl Parkrun, which I started in March 2018 to bring the community into the park and create awareness of the need to conserve our precious open spaces and to enjoy the health benefits of running/walking. We have just completed our 91st parkrun with an average of 350 participants a week.
2 Park cleanup
I organise regular cleanups of the park with the support of City Parks and City Of Johannesburg. Participation is voluntary and residents are encouraged to get involved. There is a project to plant trees and birdlife is thriving. Swings and gym equipment are available for residents to use.
3 BluBird Shopping Centre
This is my local shopping destination, providing retail and medical facilities as well as plenty of parking. Motherland Coffee, Cafe Simo and Mafiosi are excellent meeting places. Atholl Oaklands Road and Fort Street, Birnam. 011 887 8576
Impressive range of products. Oxford Rd, Illovo, Sandton. 011 268 0243.
5 Chateau Gateaux
Decadent cakes. Shop 20A, Thrupps Illovo Centre, 204 Oxford Road, Illovo. 011 268 2211
6 Bellagio Restaurant
Excellent seafood. Unit 1, Oxford Manor, 196 Oxford Road, Illovo. 011 268 0869