While traditionally the concept of down-scaling one’s home has either been linked to financial challenges or to a change in phase of life – moving into a smaller home after children have left the nest – this is no longer necessarily the case. Pam Golding Properties (PGP) reports that an increasing number of buyers are opting to move into smaller properties earlier in life, driven by factors of convenience and security.
PGP’s MD for the Western Cape region, Laurie Wener, says a number of buyers are choosing to move out of substantial family homes on large plots, and into more manageable apartments or townhouses, even before their younger children have finished school. It is a trend that is being noted in all areas of Cape Town, she adds. “There are a number of reasons for such a move, including the desire to live within a secure estate or complex, and the convenience of not having to manage a larger property,” she says. “The lower utility costs associated with a smaller property are also a significant factor, given the recent significant increases we have seen in rates, water and electricity bills.”
Wener says there will always be demand for the big family home with a large garden which a young family can enjoy, especially in key areas close to top schools, such as the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. “However we are increasingly seeing buyers weighing up their priorities and deciding that security and low maintenance are more desirable than space,” she says. “The most popular move is to a three-bedroomed apartment in a secure building, which still offers ample living space for the family, but comes without the headache of substantial utility bills and maintenance responsibilities. Such properties are also good long-term purchases, as they continue to offer a practical and manageable lifestyle for these buyers even after their family has grown and left the home. At this point of life, the convenience of lock-up-and-go security becomes even more important, as it allows empty-nesters the freedom to travel with ease.”
“Buyers who represent this trend are typically in a secure financial position,” Wener adds, “and able to wait for the ideal property in their preferred location. They are not under financial pressure to sell their existing home, but can to an extent bide their time until they find the perfect match for their particular family’s needs.”
Among the developments which are proving popular with this category of buyers are luxury complexes such as Two Oceans Beach and Aquarius in Mouille Point, where one can pay anywhere from R12 million to R18 million for a three-bedroomed apartment, as well as The Herschel in Claremont, where a 168sqm three-bedroomed apartment on the top floor was priced at R4.9 million. Also sought-after are small complexes consisting of just two to six units, in areas such as Camps Bay, Fresnaye, Claremont and Kenilworth.