The concept of urban living in the centre of Cape Town appears to have come of age. Fifteen years after the first efforts were made to establish a substantial residential demand for inner city living, the area now offers 3327 residential units, and has undergone a dramatic transformation from a largely business-related area which emptied out at night, to a vibrant space where Capetonians can live, work, play and study, around the clock.
Pam Golding Properties (PGP) reports a surge in demand for apartments in the area – during the 12 month period from March 2013 to February 2014, more than 300 residential properties were sold in the Central City, an increase of nearly 50 percent on the previous year, in which just over 200 units were sold. The average price achieved during this period was R1.383 million, while the total value sold topped R450 million. (Lightstone – all agencies).
PGP’s own sales more than doubled during the same period, reflecting an increase of 104 percent on the previous year’s unit sales. PGP’s area manager for the City Bowl and Atlantic Seaboard, Basil Moraitis says it is clear that the area is becoming entrenched as a sought-after residential space: “The green shoots of activity which we had noticed over the past two years have now sprung into life, and we can confidently say that this is a sustained and sustainable market recovery,” he says.
PGP’s area specialists, Peter Spencer, Bridget Schiffer and Mariel Burger, note that demand is coming from several sources, including end-users purchasing for their own personal use, as well as speculative buyers who see great potential in the excellent value for money on offer, as well as the pent-up demand for rental stock. “We are also seeing up-country parents buying apartments for their student children,” they say, noting that there are more than 30 educational institutions in the vicinity, including campuses of the University of Cape Town and Cape Peninsula University of Technology, as well as private institutions such as Boston College, AAA and Damelin. “These facilities ensure a steady supply of rental demand which is renewed each year,” they say, “adding to the appeal for investor buyers. Another stream of demand comes from large corporations wanting to acquire a base in Cape Town which is situated close to Parliament, and we find that the Mandela Rhodes Place complex is particularly popular with this group, due to its central location at the bottom of the Company’s Gardens.”
Lightstone figures indicate that the bulk of recent sales in the area have been to younger buyers – nearly 40 percent of recent sales were to those in the 18 to 35 age category, while over 60 percent were to buyers under the age of 49. “Access to public spaces such as the Gardens and Greenmarket Square, combined with a vibrant nightlife and a wealth of art galleries, restaurants and bars, make the area particularly appealing to these age groups,” says Moraitis. “Improved public transport, including the expanded MyCiti bus programme, has also made it possible for younger buyers to move into the area, without being hampered by the lack of a vehicle or access to adequate parking space. Statistics indicate that more than 60 percent of the area’s residents live within 3km of their place of work, with an increasing number choosing to walk or cycle to work, particularly in the summer months.”
**All prices quoted are actual selling prices, and all sales mentioned were concluded by Pam Golding Properties, unless otherwise specified.