Close to universities and popular pavement café culture and entertainment, the suburb is particularly student-oriented, but sections with renovated styles also draw investors
Auckland Park offers a buyer the luxury of choosing from a home that has been lovingly restored, or a rundown property they can renovate to own requirements or subdivide for investment purposes.
Lorraine Botha of Re/Max Masters says a number of properties have been rezoned for student accommodation, currently the main type of development in the suburb.
“The City of Joburg is supporting the rezoning of these properties, mainly properties close to the Kingsway Avenue transport thoroughfare which has the Rea Vaya bus line. The sale of these properties to student housing developers has increased the median price of the suburb,” notes Botha, who says Auckland Park has two distinct sections.
These are the south and the north of Kingsway Avenue, with the larger properties of between 991m² and 1 983m² mainly found in the former, closer to University of Johannesburg, where a lot of properties have been converted for student accommodation, sometimes illegally, according to Botha.
“There are still a lot of highly desirable homes available, especially those towards the higher ground with beautiful views,” she says. The north side of Kingsway is popular with purchasers wanting to be closer to the Melville 7th Street precinct with its restaurants and pavement cafe society, and is a safe distance from the student commune activities mainly associated with the south section.
The majority of property sizes on this side are 669m², and a few are 991m², says Botha. “Most properties, on both sides, are older character homes, featuring pressed steel ceilings, wooden floors and other sought-after features such as stained glass and antique fireplaces,” she says.
While the older, rundown properties have been targets for investors looking to make a profit through student accommodation redevelopment, some of the original properties have been beautifully renovated or restored to the point where they are unrecognisable from the original, says Botha.
“There’s a demand for well-renovated homes, especially those with views situated towards the top of the hill in Auckland Park.” She notes that the suburb is top on centrality as it enjoys proximity to the SABC, Media Park, University of Johannesburg and Wits University. Auckland Park’s centrality also has given rise to a number of B&B establishments and guest houses that are popular with visitors to the city seeking a convenient address while in Joburg.
There hasn’t been a notable change in prices over the last three to four years. An ordinary residential property should fetch no more than R2.5 million while a renovated home on a larger stand in a sought-after location would be around R3.6m to R4m, says Botha. She says Melville is slightly more affordable.
Ayanda Kolman’s favourite places and things to do
1 7th Street
There’s a vibrant cafe culture and a nice selection of great restaurants and clubs. 7th Street, Melville.
2 Emmarentia Dam
It’s great for outdoors experiences. It’s popular for picnics, dog-walking and jogging, to list only a few. Security is also good. Olifants Road, Emmarentia. 011 712 6600
3 Ratz Bar Melville
Karaoke, top cocktails, cosy. No 9, 7th Street, Melville. 011 482 2414
4 Melville Koppies
Nature Reserve A cool venue for hiking in surrounds with indigenous vegetation. It boasts rich archaeological heritage. 4 Judith Road, Emmarentia. 011 482 4797
Its great atmosphere has simply to be absorbed. The music and drinks are superb. A fine venue for socialising. Main Road and 3rd Avenue, Melville. 011 482 4246
6 Hell’s Kitchen
Excellent bar, with fantastic decor and hangouts. Live bands play here. No 4, 7th Street, Melville. 079 980 9591