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Valhalla: Home of the gods

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Valhalla used to house military personnel, but as the years go by it is opening up to a wider demographic. It is well-established and close to most places in the country's capital

Valhalla was originally built to house military personnel. Today a good number of defence force employees at Air Force Base Swartkop and other military bases live in the suburb, conveniently set on Old Johannesburg Road. In Norse mythology, Valhalla is a majestic hall ruled over by the god Odin.

“I’d describe Valhalla as a well-established, old area. It is affordable and that means it is relatively easy to get into the market here. You still find big homes built 30 to 40 years ago,” says Nico Greyling of Apple Property.

Market stock largely consists of properties priced around R1.5million or lower. Greyling says although there are hardly any vacant plots left for development in the area, which is almost 90% freehold and has only a handful of simplexes and flats, you do find great value.

“Most of the properties are built on stands of about 1000m². You have big rooms and big entertainment areas.”‘

Broadway Street East has shops and a service station and looks out over a park. Picture: John Makoni

Greyling says: “Valhalla was formerly an area set aside for the armed forces, and you still find many South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and South African Air Force personnel living there.

“Many are now retiring into new facilities, so residents of the new South Africa are moving in.”

According to Lightstone, the over-65s comprised 31% of sellers for the past year, and as many as 23% of homeowners are of pensionable age.

In other indicators, 55% of new residents to the area between August 2016 and September 2017 were between 36-49, a sign that Valhalla residents are becoming younger.

The neighbourhood has established properties on large stands. Picture: John Makoni

This means the area now has a good mix of people from across the societal spectrum, including self-employed people, says Greyling.

“The political changes of the past 20 years have seen the emergence of a new Valhalla. Today’s SANDF is representative of South Africa and that is reflected in the area.”

People have moved in from nearby Laudium, while new recruits and staff at the air force base and others have significantly contributed to the shifting cultural and social suburban demographics.

In another trend, almost 60% of homeowners remain in the area for 11 or more years, underscoring the neighbourhood’s traditional character as a settled, stable place.

Valhalla is also ideally situated close to arterial routes. The R101 to Pretoria and Midrand is virtually on its doorstep, the N1 and R21 are close by and the Pretoria CBD and landmarks such as the Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park are easy to reach.

Greyling says: “From here you are ‘out of town’ but still ‘in town’ and close to higher education institutions such as Unisa, Tukkies and others.”

He says the area is also close to healthcare facilities including 1 Military Hospital at nearby Thaba Tshwane, the last hospital to admit an ailing Nelson Mandela before his death in 2013; Netcare Unitas Hospital in Lyttelton, one of the biggest health facilities in the area; and a host of medico-pharmaceutical services.

“You find many doctors and veterinary services in the area,” says Greyling.

He believes Valhalla has similar characteristics and value to Heuweloord.

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