These are the areas that offer best value for the average family, writes Brendan Peacock
With help and research from Pam Golding Properties and Absa, Business Times has compiled a list of the top 10 places to live in South Africa in 2010.
Finding places that would suit every potential buyer is difficult, so the emphasis of this survey was on the average middle to upper class family looking for a home in a vibrant area with a host of amenities and attractions nearby. The criteria used to refine the rankings were:
Good transport infrastructure and routes nearby;
Useful amenities in the area, including shops, cafés, restaurants and cultural attractions;
Healthy environment with clean, open spaces and attractive scenery or setting;
Reliable municipal services;
Reputable schools nearby;
Property values in the area holding up well or rising; and
A sense of community.
Here is the list:
1. Cape Town: southern suburbs.
2. Durban: Berea and western suburbs - Westville, Pinetown and Hillcrest.
3. Johannesburg: the Parks, Westcliff, Dunkeld.
4. Durban North - Umhlanga, Ballito, La Lucia.
6. Port Elizabeth: Walmer, Summerstrand and Mill Park.
7. Bloemfontein: Dan Pienaar, Woodland Hills, Waverley and Langenhoven Park.
8. Cape Town: City Bowl and Green Point.
9. East London: Nahoon Mouth, Bonnie Doon, Beacon Bay and Bunkers Hill.
10. Cape Town: Durbanville and northern suburbs.
Laurie Wener, MD of Pam Golding in the Western Cape/Cape Town metro area, said the city's southern suburbs have historically been the prime location for schooling and tertiary education.
"There is a selection of excellent, English-medium government schools such as SACS, Rustenburg and Wynberg, as well as private schools like Bishops and Herschel, to name a few. The University of Cape Town is also in Rondebosch.
"The City Bowl also has a good selection of schools, such as Jan van Riebeeck and the private Herzlia and German schools. Newer areas where there is greater affordability for young families are Table View and the west coast environment up to Langebaan. "This area is now well supplied with schools, shopping centres, medical and hospital facilities and restaurants, and the suburbs are self-contained with excellent roads into the city."
Wener said the Atlantic seaboard and southern suburbs have enjoyed good capital growth for many years and are relatively recession proof. "There are more stressed sellers in newer areas, making available good buys for those who have the funds."
In KwaZulu-Natal, Pam Golding agents said Westville and Pinetown benefited from their central location and being within easy reach of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, as well as the key routes to the north and south coasts. This also applies to La Lucia, Durban North, Berea, Glenwood and Morningside, with Ballito well positioned on the coastal road and freeway within 45 minutes of Durban city and within easy reach of King Shaka International Airport.
With a host of shopping centres - such as Gateway just north of Durban central - and scenery ranging from beaches to Hillcrest's lush green surroundings, Durban's suburbs also scored highly overall. Schools such as Michaelhouse, Kearsney, St Anne's and Durban High School, as well as the University of KwaZulu-Natal are also all nearby.
According to Pam Golding Properties, Pinetown has become a vibrant, sought-after suburb for families.
"The climate is about three degrees cooler than Durban and three degrees warmer than Hillcrest, while it's only 15 minutes from the beach it does not have Durban's high humidity. You really have the best of both worlds - being 10 minutes from Botha's Hill, it's a short trip in either direction, giving you the choice of coast or mountains.
"One of the main attractions of Pinetown is the wide diversity in accommodation and price range, so it caters for everyone's needs whether they are upgrading, downsizing, starting off or retiring."
John Herbst, national sales executive for Pam Golding, said Joburg's northern suburbs like the Parks (Parktown, Parktown North, Parkview, Parkhurst, Parkwood), Westcliff, Melrose, Dunkeld, Benmore and Morningside are appealing to young professionals, families and empty-nesters.
"Within the Gautrain bus routing and train stations at Rosebank and Sandton, these areas have also experienced house price growth above inflation," he said.
"The northern suburbs offer excellent shopping malls, upgraded road infrastructure, tree-lined avenues, bohemian/village chic in the parks and the glamour of Sandton City and Melrose Arch, award-winning restaurants and a spoilt-for-choice menu of pre-, primary and high school options as well as tertiary institutions.
"These markets also provide a combination of affordable single residential homes, high-rise residential towers and gated communities. Work/live/play environments have also proved popular with the corporate set where savvy investors now offer fully furnished, serviced apartments," added Herbst.
"There is excellent access to all major road networks and the CBD, the zoo, Emmarentia Botanical Gardens, Delta Park and numerous other lifestyle recreational facilities abound.
"Upgraded road infrastructure has made developments such as Featherbrooke in Mogale City a destination of choice. Shopping malls, private and public schooling and access to Walter Sisulu national Botanical Garden offer a refuge from Gauteng's hustle and bustle.
"Fourways and Kyalami are also preferred options, with a country life atmosphere, equestrian estates and gated golfing estates. Good capital appreciation of property and recently upgraded road infrastructure make this an obvious choice for value-seeking buyers," Herbst said.