It’s quiet, clean and restful – and yet just a short distance from the buzzing centre of SA’s busiest city.
This is Winchester Hills, a small suburb tucked away between Robertsham and the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve to the south of Johannesburg, and it is an oasis of calm, offering exceptional views as a bonus to many of those who own homes here.
One of a group of suburbs to the east of Soweto that attracted a substantial number of new townhouse developments in the early 2000s, Winchester Hills was badly affected by the 2008/2009 recession, when things became particularly difficult for the young, first time buyers that typically favour such areas. Since then, however, the annual number of sales in the area has more than doubled, and prices have risen steadily – although it currently still offers really good value for money, according to Mamazi Mdlalose, the Rawson Property Group’s local franchisee.
“In the past three months, for example the average price paid for sectional title properties here has been R667 000, and for that buyers can expect a modern three bedroom apartment or two bedroom, two bathroom townhouse in a sought-after complex with top-notch security. Many upstairs units also offer good views from their living areas or balconies. “Alternatively, if buyers are looking for a freehold home, the average price paid recently is R1,53 million, for which buyers here can expect to get a good quality three or four bedroom home with two bathrooms, two garages and probably a pool or a flat.” And, she says, the suburb is also becoming more and more popular with upmarket buyers in search of luxury hillside homes offering panoramic views across the Mondeor valley to the west or over the nature reserve to the south.
“Some really striking multi-level homes have been built here in the past few years, especially on Leadwood, Kouga and Magaliesberg streets, where there are now only very few stands left for sale – at prices from around R500 000 for 1300 sqm. “Home prices at the top end of our market now range all the way up to about R4 million. In fact, we have just sold a magnificent five bedroom, double storey home in Winchester Hills for R3,45 million, but this home also offered five en suite bathrooms, five living rooms, a chef’s kitchen with electric and gas stoves, a scullery and an enormous walk-in pantry, a study, a prayer room, a pool, storerooms, four garages and two flats with two bedrooms each, so even at this level, there is great value for money to be found here.”
Some of the other main attractions of Winchester Hills, Mdlalose says, are its excellent location in relation to the Johannesburg CBD and other commercial nodes; its proximity to large shopping malls, entertainment venues, sporting facilities, and excellent schools. “Residents of Winchester Hills can get to the CBD within minutes via Xavier Street and the N1, and there is also a regular Metrobus service. The suburb is also bisected by the N12 southern bypass, and while that is a problem to some, it does have its own on and off ramps and that is an advantage for those who need a freeway route to Soweto, Alberton or the East Rand for work, or to OR Tambo International.
“As for schools, Winchester Hills has its own primary school and is also home to Sir John Adamson High School as well as several nursery schools. The Johannesburg South campus of the private Abbott’s College is just a few kilometres down the road in Suideroord.” She says the suburb is also well-served when it comes to shopping and entertainment as it has its own shopping centre with a Pick ‘n Pay and is also within very easy reach of the Southgate Mall as well as the newly-revamped Southdale centre.
“These centres offer a huge range of stores and restaurants and there is also a movie multiplex at Southgate. Then for outdoor enthusiasts, the nature reserve literally on the doorstep offers a number of hikes and guided walks and boasts a great diversity of wildlife including zebra, blesbok, duiker and dozens of bird species as well as many items of archaeological, historical and cultural interest.“