Areas and Places

Fact or fantasy: Houses in Cape Town under R1.5 million

A view of Muizenberg’s iconic beach.

We’ve all heard the stories about Cape Town’s skyrocketing property prices, and how young families and first-time buyers are having to pay more and more to get a foot on the property ladder. Demand for entry-level property is extremely high, but can you really find a decent house in Cape Town for less than R1.5 million these days? According to these Rawson Property Group neighbourhood experts, you absolutely can.

“Muizenberg is an excellent option for people looking for affordable starter homes,” says Errol King, the Rawson Property Group’s Muizenberg franchisee. “In fact, our highest volume of sales at the moment is in the entry-level price range – you can find small, two bedroomed houses with solar heating in new developments for as little as R500 000 to R600 000, and larger, earlier development builds for similarly affordable prices.”

When asked why Muizenberg remains so affordable in comparison to other Cape Town suburbs, especially given its prime seaside location, King cites an old stigma that the area is still struggling to shake. “Muizenberg wasn’t always great,” he admits. “It went through a long period of neglect, and the property market suffered. Because of that, some people still associate it with overcrowding and rundown buildings but the reality is very different these days. There has been a huge amount of development over the last decade and there is now a great selection of lovely entry-level properties available, as well as beautiful homes in higher price brackets for the upwardly mobile.”

While most of Muizenberg’s entry-level homes are located in developments in its eastern districts, like Capricorn, King has seen the occasional gem selling for under R1.5 million in pricier parts of the suburb. He highly recommends doing thorough research into the market before starting to actively look for a home, so that you can recognise a good deal when you see one, and move quickly. “Well-priced properties usually sell within a week,” he says, “so there’s no time to mess around.”

A little further inland, tucked between the M3 and Main Road between Muizenberg and Cape Town, lies another great option for affordable property under R1.5 million – Kirstenhof.

“Kirstenhof is a beautiful suburb,” says David Eastman, the Rawson Property Group’s sales agent for the area. “It has lots of parks and greenbelts scattered around, spectacular mountain views, and it’s a school catchment area, which is an important consideration for families with children. It’s also great value-for-money, and there are plenty of compact properties selling for under R1.5 million.”

Eastman recommends looking around Davis Road, Waterford Circle, Harding, Village Green and Chelsea and Wilshire Crescents for the best value for money under R1.5 million. “Last year I sold a two bedroom, one bathroom property on a stand of 152m2 for R1.295 million,” he reveals. “It did need a little bit of work,” he admits, “but it sold within a day.”

Eastman echoes King’s warnings about moving quickly when you find a bargain in this price range. “Houses under R1.5 million sell like hot cakes, so do your best to be first in line,” he says, “but don’t overlook location and state of repair in your haste.”

Kirstenhof and Muizenberg are both, admittedly, a little further from the Cape Town CBD than some might like – possibly a contributing factor to their relatively low property prices. While affordability does tend to decrease the closer to the city you get, there are still a few areas with options under R1.5 million to be found. According to Craig Gilfillan, the Rawson Property Group’s franchisee for Observatory, his neighbourhood is certainly an option for now, but may not be for long.

“Prices have risen substantially in the last year,” he begins, “and there are fewer options these days in the under R1.5 million price range, but if you don’t mind a semi-detached cottage or a small house that needs some TLC, and you don’t need off-street parking, there are definitely options still available in Observatory.”

With its convenient access to the highways, the CBD, UCT and CPUT, it’s easy to see why affordable property in Observatory is in high demand. “Houses sell within a few days,” says Gilfillan, “and entry-level properties are in short supply. This is pushing prices up quickly, so buy now or risk being priced out of the market,” he warns.

While all our neighbourhood experts agree that you have to act fast if you’re going to snap up a property bargain these days, it’s clear that there are still great options available if you know where to look.