Tus­can with a touch of cas­tle

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SIT­U­ATED just west of Jo­han­nes­burg’s city cen­tre, Melville of­fers an ar­ray of Jo­han­nes­burg’s best restau­rants, live mu­sic venues, shops and art gal­leries. The sub­urb has a neigh­bourly at­mos­phere which is at­trib­uted to its mix of res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial prop­er­ties.

Some of the sub­urb’s homes date back to the 19th cen­tury and many have been con­verted into B&Bs and guest houses, which are in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar es­pe­cially among trav­ellers. The well known Melville Kop­pies Na­ture Re­serve ad­joins the sub­urb and pro­tects an ex­ten­sive area of typ­i­cal Highveld veg­e­ta­tion and in­cludes ar­chae­o­log­i­cal re­mains of both Stone and Iron Age set­tle­ments.

Sit­u­ated on Melville Ridge, which ac­cord­ing to deeds of­fice data forms part of the greater Melville precinct, this 1 568m² prop­erty is home to a 1 428m² res­i­dence, de­signed and built by its ar­chi­tect owner. Po­si­tioned high above the heart of Melville with 180 de­gree views over Jo­han­nes­burg and as far as the Ma­galies­berg, this unique prop­erty is sit­u­ated close to the Univer­sity of Jo­han­nes­burg and the Univer­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand, the SABC and me­dia cen­tres.

The ac­com­mo­da­tion is mul­ti­levelled and spread over three sep­a­rate build­ings with a typ­i­cally Tus­can de­sign and vi­brant Proven­cal in­te­ri­ors.

The ground floor has din­ing rooms, lounges, staff ac­com­mo­da­tion, of­fice and con­fer­ence fa­cil­i­ties, se­cure park­ing, on site laun­dry fa­cil­i­ties and bed­rooms. The de­sign fol­lows through to the three kitchens, each of which has its own scullery and pantry. On the sec­ond and third floors are the main bed­rooms.

The 18 sep­a­rate en-suite bed­rooms have a unique am­biance. Many have con­ser­va­to­ries, bal- conies and fire­places. In ad­di­tion, there are sev­eral wel­com­ing re­cep­tion rooms. The Ro­manesque pool is set in a lush gar­den.

This home, built over three stands, took about 14 years to and com­plete and in­cluded the ren­o­va­tion of two ex­ist­ing prop­er­ties in or­der to in­cor­po­rate them into what is now a unique col­lab­o­ra­tion. Its size makes it the largest non-com­mer­cial prop­erty in the area and, apart from the unique de­sign, it boasts ex­cep­tional views which are the own­ers’ favourite fea­ture of the prop­erty.

The prop­er­ties have been de­signed so that in­doors link with out­doors with pa­tios, bal­conies, and glass doors al­low­ing ac­cess to the gar­den. By plac­ing large win­dows at mul­ti­ple an­gles, the own­ers as­sured that the full­ness of the views could be ap­pre­ci­ated.

Talk­ing about prop­erty sales in the area, Amelia Bester of Jawitz Prop­er­ties, who is mar­ket­ing this home, says that in Melville they saw a 2% drop in the num­ber of sales of full-ti­tle homes in the last quar­ter and a 1% drop in the av­er­age sales price from R1 302 000 to R1 248 000. “I at­tribute this to the 2006-07 buy­ers’ re­luc­tance to sell un­der the cur­rent mar­ket con­di­tions. Home own­ers are choos­ing to stay put and to in­vest more money in their homes. Once homes are priced within a 5%-10% range of where the mar­ket sees value, the prop­er­ties in these ar­eas sell rel­a­tively quickly,” she says.

Look­ing at West­dene, a sub­urb that bor­ders the Melville Ridge area, Bester says that there was a 2,9% in­crease in the num­ber of sales of full-ti­tle homes in the last quar­ter. The av­er­age sales price has also in­creased from R885 000 to R917 000 in the last quar­ter. This, she be­lieves, is due to the height­ened in­ter­est in the area by young pro­fes­sion­als and first-time home buy­ers look­ing to set down roots in an af­ford­able sub­urb in which their time, money and ef­fort will yield re­turns in fu­ture.

Bester notes that en­try level homes in Melville are usu­ally twobed­room, semi-de­tached homes in need of ren­o­va­tion set on stands that mea­sure around 347m². Mi­dlevel homes, she says, are ei­ther ren­o­vated semis or full stand homes of around 743m² with two or three bed­rooms that may also be in need of some ren­o­va­tion.

The most ex­pen­sive homes of­fer views of the Kop­pies, are in top con­di­tion and in some cases have com­mer­cial zon­ing rights.

When asked why this area is a good lo­ca­tion in which to in­vest in prop­erty, Bester says that it of­fers prop­er­ties in an af­ford­able bracket and is cen­trally lo­cated to the eco­nomic hub of Jo­han­nes­burg. It is also within prox­im­ity of Wits, UJ, the Mil­park Busi­ness School, Mil­park Hos­pi­tal and the SABC. These fac­tors draw large numbers of lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional pro­fes­sion­als and make for a high de­mand in prop­erty in the area — both res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial.

Added to this, she says that in Melville and West­dene, home own­ers are get­ting the cot­tages on their prop­er­ties in good nick in or­der to let them out to stu­dents and vis­it­ing pro­fes­sion­als. Pric­ing: R16m Con­tact: Jawitz Prop­er­ties Amelia Bester 072 472 4196

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