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Soweto icon’s property sold for record price

Residential property market in Soweto booms

The historic home of the late Dr Johnny Mosendane, one of Soweto’s best-known public figures, has been sold by for R2.5 million, a new record price for the township.

Trish Luthuli, New Business Executive at Pam Golding Properties in Gauteng, says that the distinctive five-bedroomed property situated in Rockville, Moroka, which was designed by renowned architects Michael Sutton and David Walker in 1979, has been sold after having been placed on the residential property market by Pam Golding Properties late last year.

“We are tremendously excited about the sale of late Dr Mosendane’s home, which is a well-known landmark within the Rockville community,” adds Luthuli. “This is a record for a sale to an individual and further serves to affirm that, despite slow national economic indicators, the Soweto residential property market, across all segments, remains one of the more buoyant in Gauteng. There are a number of reasons for this, including the fact that property rates in Soweto are substantially cheaper than in Johannesburg’s residential suburbs, and homes in the area offer affordability as well as excellent value for money.”

Luthuli notes there is a growing urban population and black middle class within the Gauteng centres and that some 40% of greater-Johannesburg’s population resides in Soweto, which gives an indication of its enormous size. “This all translates into an ongoing demand for affordable homes to buy and rent, and we do not believe that this trend is likely to abate anytime soon.”

“We also note that many middle class and wealthier individuals have been returning to Soweto from Johannesburg’s residential suburbs over the last number of years because they miss the colour and vibrancy of the sprawling metropolis. Others would never dream of ever leaving. The Soweto of today is hip, hot and happening and many people prefer it to some of the more staid, often quieter residential suburbs.”

According to John Loos of FNB, the house price growth of properties in Soweto was 11.6% in the first quarter of 2015, which compares favourably with the single digit figures achieved in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs. “Homes in the area thus tend to represent a solid investment, a fact that many people are only now beginning to become aware of,” affirms Luthuli.

The average property price in Soweto is R620 000 and there is considerable demand for homes anywhere between R350 000 and R750 000. However, more upmarket homes priced between R1.5 million to R2 million are also popular.

Luthuli says that the 2015 National Budget announcement, that no transfer duties are payable on property transactions below R750 000, as opposed to the previous R600 000 threshold, proved a considerable stimulant to the lower and middle-end markets last year.

“Certainly recent rate hikes and diminishing household incomes are likely to impact the Soweto property market, but the demand for homes has such momentum that the future of the residential property market in the township remains exceedingly bright.”

Luthuli points out that The City of Johannesburg’s massive Soweto development plan, which has included the building of schools and community centres, and has involved upgrades to the roads and transport infrastructure, has considerably improved services while rendering the township more accessible and convenient.

“Furthermore, retail and commercial developments are springing up right across Soweto. The area has become an important growth node in its own right and residents no longer have to struggle to get to work or visit a top notch shopping mall as every conceivable amenity is now right there on their doorstep.”

Dr Mosendane was a highly respected medical practitioner who largely practised in the Meadowlands community for 45 years. He was also a patron of the arts and had a substantial art collection, which he acquired over the course of his lifetime. This was displayed at his Moroka home.

The all-brick property is in many ways a typical Michael Sutton design with its unusual barrel vaulted ceilings and sky roofs. It has five-bedrooms with three en-suite bathrooms plus a study, dining room and foyer. It has easy access to Chris Hani Road and the Bus Rapid Transit system, and shopping and entertainment are offered at the nearby Jabulani and Maponya malls.

Dr Mosendane asked the award-winning local designer to develop his Moroka home in 1979. He then acquired two neighbouring properties and expanded the home in the early 1980s. The property went on to win various architectural awards and was featured in a number of publications at the time.

Luthuli pointed out that one factor that is inhibiting the growth of the residential property market in Soweto, is that many owners are not aware of the value of their properties and tend not to see their properties as potentially wealth-creating assets.

“One reason for this is that homes have tended to stay within families for generations and are rarely, if ever, taken to market. In addition, when homeowners do take their properties to market, they often undervalue them.”

“Many people are not familiar with, and require further information on, the process of buying and selling, including how to obtain valuations and financing. Pam Golding Properties believes that emphasis should be placed on informing homeowners about the Soweto property market and how to go about getting their home evaluated, so that they can obtain a clear idea of what their most substantial asset is worth.”

“Once homeowners become more aware of their property values, they can be empowered to see their homes as an asset, which can will provide them with further options and assist in wealth creation. This may also spread the awareness of how important it is for homeowners to participate in activities that add value to their communities, such as actively engaging city authorities, and renovating and upgrading common areas.”

“Real estate agents are happy to provide free evaluations, which will give one an idea of what similar properties in the area have sold for recently and take into account aspects such as the area, size of the property, improvements that have been done on the property and so on. It is advisable to speak to a registered estate agent, with a proven track record, so they can visit your property and give you advice specific to your property,” concludes Luthuli.