Athlone, the Cape Town suburb, continues to have a definite prestige for a big cross-section of today’s buyers, says Georgina Lovell, co-franchisee with her daughter Andrea for the Rawson Property Group’s franchise serving this area.
“Over the last year,” said Lovell, “we have seen demand grow stronger and stronger – a very welcome trend. However, stock has been increasingly difficult to find and we are having to resort to intensive tele-canvassing and traffic intersection pamphlet blitzing to maintain our stock levels. Fortunately these exercises are bearing fruit.”
Many Athlone home owners, said Lovell, now realize that with capital growth of residential property here running at roughly 1% to 1,5% ahead of the national average of 6,7% (the figure calculated by the Deeds Office for 2014), this is a good time to sit back and watch one’s asset grow.
Some idea of how values in Athlone have, in fact, risen can be gained from the average price appreciation on a two bedroom sectional title apartment in the area. These in early 2013 were selling at R400,000, but today are priced above R480,000.
Similarly, said Lovell, a well-designed but unpretentious three bedroom home with a garage and a swimming pool that might have sold for R1,150,000 in early 2013 will now usually command a price of R1,4 million.
“In general,” said Lovell, “homes that come onto our books are now selling in under two weeks if they are accurately priced.”
Apart from its convenient siting in relation to the CBD, enabling cars to get to the city in peak times in under an hour (and in 20 minutes in off-peak times), Athlone, said Lovell, has the great advantage of being ‘fully established’.
“The churches, mosques, cultural and sports societies here often have long, illustrious histories. Centres like the Joseph Stone Auditorium and Athlone Stadium are busy several days a week. Those who live here in most cases are always very reluctant to leave,” said Lovell.
As in most Cape Peninsula high demand areas, Athlone’s rental prices have also escalated in the last year. Andrea Lovell, who manages this franchise’s rental portfolio which has a substantial list of properties on its books, said that today two bedroom apartments are now renting at between R3,800 to R4,400 per month, while homes are renting at anything from R5,000 to R7,000 per month, with certain of the most prestigious properties commanding as much as double that figure.
“Here too,” said Andrea Lovell, “demand exceeds supply and landlords are finding that they can often get 15% increases in their rents when signing on a new tenant. The average rental increase for existing tenants is now in the region of 9%.”