Confirming that they are “totally committed” to developing their commercial franchises at a good pace, the Rawson Property Group has, says its Managing Director, Tony Clarke, added a third such franchise to the two already up and running in Cape Town.
The new franchisee here is Alisdair Crofton. He has also taken on a Cape Town CBD residential franchise and he has 15 years’ experience in property and, said Clarke, has the ability to handle two such operations simultaneously.
“All of the Rawson Commercial Cape Town franchisees have carte blanche to operate throughout the Western Cape,” said Crofton recently. “None of us have any exclusive use areas but my team will, however, initially focus on retail and office space and we expect to be particularly prominent in Salt River, Woodstock and the CBD in the early months. We will, however, be available to work everywhere and there are already indications that certain brokers and clients are welcoming the introduction of new blood to the market.”
In general, said Crofton, investors are now showing renewed interest in commercial property for the simple reason that the returns here (on average 10 to 12%) are usually higher than those in residential property and escalate, even in today’s tough market, at 5 to 8% per annum.
“What many of the shrewder investors have come to appreciate,” said Crofton, “is that the Cape Town peripheral precincts offer truly excellent value, especially to those who can renovate or upgrade. This has become particularly evident, for example, in the areas surrounding Wembley Square and the Old Biscuit Mill.”
Office rentals in Greater Cape Town, said Crofton, are still at ‘reasonable’ levels – anything from R85 to R125 per square metre in the more popular areas – but are set to rise by around 15% in 2014. Those looking to rent, he said, should sign up while it is still possible to get affordable prices.
“From the feedback we are getting already,” said Crofton, “it is quite clear that many investors are now viewing the commercial market with great interest and are anxious to increase the size of their portfolios here.”