The evolution of estate houses in Sandton
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Today’s up-and-coming younger generation may not all be aware that the housing estate address to which they aspire, their favourite workplace location and their preferred playground – Sandton – did not exist in name prior to 1969.
Housing estates were an unknown, foreign concept to Sandtonians and other South Africans. The urban dwellings consisted of freehold houses and individual flats or apartments that were located in blocks of various sizes, incorporating different numbers of units.
Today’s Sandton was proclaimed as a municipality in its own right in 1969. It was to function as a separate entity, being split off from Johannesburg City Council, as it then was. This newly created municipality had to be defined, as well as having its own name. “Sandton” was the result – a combination of the names of two of the area’s well established suburbs, Sandown and Bryanston.
In 1996, Sandton lost its independent status, once again being incorporated as a Johannesburg suburb, part of the newly formed City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, as were the towns of Roodepoort and Randburg.
Despite this incorporation and “loss” of its independent position, Sandton, now a Johannesburg suburb, is generally considered by the population at large as a distinct or area with its own (northern Johannesburg) suburbs.
Some of these additional so-called Sandton suburbs include Rosebank, Fourways, Lonehill, Morningside, Rivonia, Hyde Park, Sandhurst, Parktown North, Dunkeld, Craighall Park and Blairgowrie. All of these mentioned are considered to be very affluent or upper-middle class Sandton suburbs, in keeping with Sandton’s status as “the richest square mile in Africa”.
Estate house ownership
Some of the earliest estate-type houses in South Africa consisted of sectional title dwellings, similar to flats, but with one major difference. Legally, no units could be individually owned by occupants. Instead, entire blocks of flats and apartments were owned by one person, who acted as a landlord that let each individual apartment to a tenant for a specified length of time, at a defined monthly rental.
Therefore, the owner of the block was responsible for virtually everything, from collections of rent monies, payment of utilities to the relevant council, rates and taxes, to maintenance of the block, both within and without. The repairs or replacement of plumbing systems, fixtures and appliances, like stoves and geysers, were also for the block owner’s account.
Towards the late 1970s and early 1980s, legislation changed, allowing the owner of a block, now known as a complex, to sell off each flat to an individual owner. Former flats became known as townhouses and sectional title ownership was born – the first step in the evolution of estate living.
Initially, sectional title ownership was approached with a considerable amount of caution, because the draft of the first sectional title legislation failed to cover all aspects of such property ownership and owners’ and tenants’ legal rights. This was soon addressed by the Act of 1986, and sectional title ownership took off in a big way, in Sandton and across South African cities.
In affluent areas, such as Sandton, many loved the concept of living in a secure gated community, but demanded more spacious, freehold houses. This need gave rise to Sandton’s sought-after residential housing estates, soon to be followed by other types of exclusive secure estates, such as golfing and equestrian estates, that incorporated facilities for the relevant activities.
Sandton’s professional estate agency
We are the agency of choice for luxury property transactions in Sandton, because our knowledgeable agents know and understand this market intimately, while conforming to a strict, professional code of conduct.
In doing so, we ensure that you, our client, receives the best possible recommendations, advice and service throughout your search and investment in one of South Africa’s fastest growing luxury housing sectors.