Braamfontein has moved away from its less favourable reputation and is known today as a hot spot for creatives and young professionals.
The massive drive for tech companies and innovation hubs to move to the CBD (and especially Braamfontein), is accompanied by the aesthetic improvement of the area and a stronger emphasis on security. Many tech start-ups are housed in the almost complete Tshimolong precinct and the Wits tech hub. IBM and Microsoft are two of the strategic founding partners of this precinct.
While Braamfontein is still mostly a student area because of the close proximity to WITS, UJ and many more, the area is also experiencing a greater demand from young professionals who want to live closer to where they work. There are currently 12 sectional title buildings in Braamfontein, most of which offer small bachelor apartments geared towards students, but there is also a good presence of young professionals looking to buy their first apartments in buildings like Civic Towers, Madison Lofts and The Liberty. The factor limiting masses of young professionals streaming to Braamfontein is the amount of accommodation available and until new developments geared towards young professionals are built this will remain a mostly student area.
The biggest change in Braamfontein has been on the commercial front where many new shops, restaurants, bars and the 'neighbourgoods market' have all opened in recent years. While in the past there were only a handful of restaurants and bars, now visitors can park in the middle of Braamfontein and walk down any street and find many places to choose from. This in turn adds to the vibe and increases the demand for small businesses to move back to the area.
The rest of the JHB CBD has also seen improvement ranging from fixing up the streets to erecting new shopping centres like the Newtown Junction, but the nightlife here is still not as popular as it is in Braamfontein. This however is also slowly changing with the opening of more restaurants such as Urbanologi in Fox street and the many regularly frequented hot spots in the Maboneng precinct.
Property prices in Braamfontein and the CBD vary, but start at around R500 000 for a bachelor or one bedroom apartment in Braamfontein to a R1 million rand apartment in the CBD. There are also a few penthouses which range from R1 million to R4 million and this will typically include a large 200 to 300m2 apartment with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, very modern finishes and beautiful views of the city.
More benefits of living in Braamfontein include the proximity to Gautrain, Park Station and the bicycle lanes for those who cycle to work.
The major appeal of living in Braamfontein and the CBD lies in the incredible infrastructure that is seen nowhere else in Johannesburg. A lot is being done to make the CBD attractive like the introduction of 'First Thursdays' where all the art galleries, bars and restaurants open on the first Thursday night of every month. The Maboneng precinct also has a craft market on Sundays and the gentrification of this area is very popular with tourists and with Joburgers looking for something different. Events in Mary Fitzgerald Square and the market theatre is also a huge attraction.
Even though Hillbrow still has a way to go in terms of area safety, big brands and shops are moving back into the area which is encouraging. The buildings in Hillbrow are also remarkably safe and include features like biometrics, access control and decent guarding.