The boom in residential property demand (and achievable rent levels) which has been experienced in the last year in many Cape Peninsula suburbs is nowhere more evident than Muizenberg, says the Rawson Property Group’s Muizenberg rental manager, Matthew Barnes.
“Since 2011 we have predicted that this would happen,” said Barnes, “but we did not foresee just how strong the demand would become.”
It is, he said, based on four main factors, the first of which is the affordability of Muizenberg rental property. It is still 30% to 40% lower priced than that of similar units in the popular central Cape Peninsula suburbs of Claremont, Rondebosch, Rosebank and Kenilworth.
The second factor boosting Muizenberg rentals, said Barnes, is that it is ‘surprisingly’ convenient, far more so than most people realize. The suburban rail services gets commuters to the city at peak times in less than 45 minutes – and the area is linked to many freeways.
A third factor is that with interest rates now starting to rise and 52% of credit active South Africans having blemishes on their credit records, the number of buyers is still relatively small.
A fourth reason for Muizenberg’s popularity, said Barnes, is that it is still one of those areas which has a friendly community spirit. An advantage of this, he said, is that Muizenburg has developed a highly efficient crime reduction and city improvement initiative which has been described as “one of the best at the Cape”.
So – what are these ‘affordable’ rental levels?
Barnes emphasized that it is difficult to give averages for the entire precinct because it consists of five differently priced areas: the central ‘old’ village of Muizenberg, Marina da Gama, Costa da Gama and Muizenberg’s surrounding suburbs Lakeside and St James.
In the old village a sectional title two bedroom home with no off-street parking could now achieve a rental of ± R5,500 per month and a three bedroom home might well rent out at R7,500 to R8,500 per month.
At Costa da Gama units might be as low priced as R2,800 to R4,000 for a two bedroom flat and R6,500 for a three bedroom, two bathroom house with a pool – this remains one of the best value-for-money areas in the Cape.
At Marina da Gama, which is increasingly appreciated for the water-based lifestyle and beautiful views it offers, rents can be anything from R6,500 to R14,000 per month, while on the stock books at Rawson Muizenberg there are some priced in the region of R20,000 per month.
Lakeside, said Barnes, which is particularly sought after right now and has an even more serious stock shortage than the other areas, a three bedroom home rent could be as high as R12,000 per month.
In St James, where the most of homes are ‘prestigious’, units can rent from R6,000 to R10,000 per month.
“As in Muizenberg, the rents offer good value for money given that so many amenities are on your doorstep,” said Barnes.
Errol King, the Rawson Property Group’s franchisee for Muizenberg, said that his rental team is now managing some 200 properties and the rental operation has become the backbone of their activities and a core business. Barnes, he said, is signing up four to five new leases per month and could be doing double that if the stock was available. A great many landlords with whom his team deals, added King, tend to become buyers, acquiring several properties, or sellers, again working through the franchise.
“I am often,” said King, “asked when rents will level off, but I cannot see that happening in the foreseeable future because demand is such that it will be very difficult to meet it for a long time to come.”
Asked to give examples of typical units available for rent in Muizenberg right now, Barnes mentioned:
· A one bedroom, one bathroom unit with a swimming pool and mountain views. The block is a stone’s throw away from the beach and has secure parking. The rent here is R4,500 per month, approximately half what would be charged for a similar unit in, say, Rosebank.
· A freestanding two bedroom, one bathroom property with a single garage in Costa da Gama. This has an open-plan kitchen/lounge and an attractive small garden. It is available at R5,500 per month.
· At St James, this franchise has a two bedroom fully furnished cottage with exceptional views. The rent here is R10,000 per month – again less than half of what such a unit would command in an area like Claremont.