Mighty Midrand makes its mark on the Joburg skyline
Ideally located close to the N1 highway, Midrand is fast establishing itself as the new Northern suburbs of Johannesburg. Shrinking the gap between Joburg and Pretoria, this growing hub is showing great potential as a secondary business node to Sandton.
Back in 2003-2005, my family saw an opportunity in Midrand, at that point, a small area on the outskirts of Sandton. We purchased office space close to the N1 highway, knowing the value of accessibility, and have grown our portfolio in subsequent years to include fringe areas like Kyalami and Sunninghill.
Since then Midrand has realised massive growth primarily in the residential property space, with a solid reputation as one of the fastest growing residential hubs in South Africa. According to property statistics the number of properties in the area has doubled since 2000.
What has really made Midrand a ‘household name’ is the Waterfall development providing a variety of lifestyle options in a safe and secure environment. This is compounded by the recent opening of the biggest single phase mall built on the continent, the Mall of Africa.
So let’s take a closer look at the effects of the Waterfall development on the Midrand commercial property industry. In the short term several Midrand-based businesses may move premises to Waterfall’s new and novel commercial space, naturally driving rental prospects down in the surrounding area. Property, however, isn’t a short term game and I am convinced that eventually the greater area will benefit.
According to the Urban Studies May 2016 newsletter, a staggering 100 000 middle and affluent households surround the Mall of Africa and at least 30 000 new houses will be built in the next 10-15 years. Considering this abundance of residential property, it’s likely that in the long term Waterfall residents, who won’t all be able to work in Waterfall’s own office parks, will look to the greater Midrand area for office space close to their home.
This long term view widens further with Midrand properties receiving increased exposure from shoppers flocking to the Mall of Africa. Slowly, as the area becomes more popular, attracting more people, the value will naturally increase.
This is exactly what happened in the greater Sandton area as the iconic move of the JSE in 2000 cemented Santon’s reputation as Joburg’s new CBD. Fringe areas like Rosebank, Illovo, Hurlingham, Parkmore and Dunkeld all benefitted from Sandton’s boom and experienced huge growth themselves in the residential and commercial property environment.
The challenge going forward is going to be the availability and supply of infrastructure to developments like Waterfall and their surrounds, particularly transport and electricity. The Midrand Gautrain station is not close enough to Waterfall to be a viable mode of transport for shoppers and residents which is a missed opportunity in my opinion. Electricity is also at a premium with large amounts being reserved for Waterfall and similar developments. Property owners like myself have concerns about the availability of power for their Midrand properties.
Overall, I am incredibly positive and excited about the current and future growth of the Midrand area and will be watching it closely for years to come.
By Scott Field, CEO of Fieldspace Property Group