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Unlocking Johannesburg’s real estate evolution: trends and insights – Everything property

The economic heart of South Africa has witnessed a significant transformation in its residential real estate landscape in recent years. Understanding the unique demands and preferences of Johannesburg’s residents is key for developers and investors as well as homeowners.

“Unless one is flipping properties, real estate investment is a long game and a much deeper insight is required, especially these days when markets and trends are shifting so much more dramatically than in previous years,” says Cobus Odendaal, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Johannesburg and Randburg.

“Johannesburg’s real estate market has become much more dynamic and adaptable, with properties now catering to a wider range of needs and lifestyles than ever before. As the city continues to grow and change, its residential real estate market is following suit.”

Odendaal lists the key driving forces behind these changes:

  • Urbanisation and migration: Johannesburg’s economic opportunities and urban lifestyle continue to attract people from across South Africa and Africa, driving the need for more housing options.
  • Economic growth: The city’s status as an economic powerhouse makes it an attractive destination for businesses, leading to increased demand for housing.
  • Safety concerns: Growing concerns about safety have prompted many residents to seek secure housing options.
  • Environmental awareness: The desire for a more sustainable lifestyle has created a demand for eco-friendly and energy-efficient properties.
  • Work-from-home demand: The pandemic accelerated the work-from-home trend, leading to an increased demand for properties with home offices or extra space for remote work.
  • Changing lifestyle preferences: There’s a growing demand for energy-efficient properties as people embrace sustainable living. Minimalism and compact homes appeal, while dedicated spaces like spa, bathrooms and yoga rooms gained popularity since the pandemic.



Some changes in the Johannesburg property landscape are not only here to stay but are actively shaping the future of the city.

  • Urban revitalisation: The city centre has been transforming from ageing offices to modern residences, with areas like Braamfontein attracting new investors, residents, and businesses.
  • The emergence of new commercial hubs: Once a response to urban decay, now driven by migration and lifestyle changes, areas like Midrand and Fourways are thriving.
  • Mixed-use developments: There has been a proliferation of mixed-use developments that combine residential, commercial, and recreational spaces.
  • Security and gated communities: Safety concerns have led to a surge in the demand for gated communities with heightened security. Many new developments offer 24/7 security, access control, and surveillance systems.
  • Green spaces and sustainability: There is a growing emphasis on green spaces and sustainable living. Sustainable design elements, such as energy-efficient appliances and solar panels, are also becoming more common.


“There used to be three main property types – sectional title blocks of flats or rows of duplexes and freestanding houses – but this is no longer the case,” says Odendaal. There are now many more options:

  • City apartments and lofts
  • Mixed-use developments
  • Security estates
  • Luxury estates
  • Family homes with versatile spaces
  • Student accommodation

“As Johannesburg continues to develop and expand, its property market will continue to evolve. Whether you seek the urban excitement of inner-city living or the tranquillity of a suburban retreat, Johannesburg has something to offer everyone in its ever-changing real estate landscape,” says Odendaal.