If you whizz up Jan Smuts Avenue in Johannesburg too fast – that’s past Sandton and towards Rosebank – you’re bound to bag a whopping speeding fine (just after Dunkeld) and possibly miss the glorious suburb of Hyde Park altogether.
So slow down, wind down the windows and take a moment to stop and smell the roses. Ranked as one of top suburbs in the country, Hyde Park borders Craighall Park, Sandhurst and Illovo. These are exclusives addresses – Jozi’s very own version of Beverly Hills.
Wander around the area (if you have the patience for countless security booms) and you’re guaranteed to find yourself gawking at the places that some people call home. Sure there are flats on the outskirts of Hyde Park which are attractive to the young-up-and-comings, but the majority of property in Hyde Park is grandiose and has a price tag to match.
We’re talking enormous, old abodes where CEOs, MPs and other VIPs reside. These are mansions with balconies that double, indoor swimming pools, home gyms and sprawling lawns where soirées and canapés are the order of the day.
Flash freehold property in Hyde Park can set you back about R8m and then there are the super flash properties that go for anything in the region of R25m.
If it’s a lovely little flat you’re after, you’re looking at about R1,6m for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom spot. According to Deeds office data, the most expensive property sold in Hyde Park recently was R8,2m. The average price of property is anywhere between R7m and R55m.
According to property research experts Lightstone, the growth and activity in the area over the past few years has been impressive. Properties in sectional title schemes that went for R850K in 2004 were valued at around R1,6m in 2009. Freehold properties valued at R3,2m in 2004 were valued at R7,6m last year.
So what makes Hyde Park so sought-after? It’s beautiful for a start: lush green gardens, leafy streets, huge stands (many with great views of Johannesburg north) and a nice mix of classy old houses, trendy homes and apartments too.
Then there’s a great school, Hyde Park High, right in the centre of the suburb and one of Jozi’s most exclusive amenities on your doorstep: Hyde Park Shopping Centre.
This is retail therapy at its best with a pick of the top boutiques and specialty shops around. From international brands like Pringle, United Colors of Benetton and Morgan, to local treasures like Jenni Button and Hilton Weiner, there’s something for everyone.
Then, once you’ve done some damage on the credit card, you can go next door and enjoy a Cuban cigar on the deck of the new R190m Southern Sun hotel. It’s a great spot to bask in a splendid South African sunset.