The economic and financial heart of South Africa, Johannesburg is also one of its most important creative and cultural hubs. A key contributor to South Africa’s growing reputation as the ‘next big emerging market’, as highlighted by Goldman Sachs, Johannesburg is undergoing extensive regeneration driven by the government’s Inner City Roadmap initiative.
Decades of decline in Johannesburg’s inner city saw many corporations moving out to the suburbs, but the Central Business District (CBD) has been experiencing a significant revival in recent times.
An oversupply of underused office blocks is being rapidly converted into affordable residential-led mixed use developments. This is not only attracting middle-income residents back to the city centre, but also encouraging an increasing amount of small businesses looking for affordable work spaces. These include those from the creative sector such as artists, marketers, and architects who are now building vibrant new communities within the inner city.
A new inner city revitalisation project announced by Mayor Herman Mashaba in late 2018 aims to transform the city through project redevelopment by providing additional student accommodation, mixed-income housing and small business rental space. The Mayor invited South African and international construction companies to transform the inner city by participating in the revitalisation project.
Transport infrastructure investment is also boosting property markets across the city – the Gautrain, which opened in 2012 is one. Built to relieve traffic congestion, this is an 80-kilometer commuter rail system in the Gauteng province which links Johannesburg, Pretoria, Ekurhuleni and the OR Tambo International Airport.
According to research by Lightstone, house price growth around Gauteng train stations have outperformed the wider market. For example in Rosebank, a cosmopolitan commercial and residential suburb to the north of central Johannesburg, property price growth between 2011 and 2016 was 2.5% higher than surrounding areas further away from the station.