In line with the good performance of the property market over the past two years, in particular that of the former ‘township’ and more affordable areas according to economists such as John Loos from FNB, prices in Mitchell’s Plain are on the up, says Gary Grobbelaar, Seeff’s CEO for False Bay and the South Eastern Suburbs.
Mitchell’s Plain is located on the False Bay coast, bound by the R300 and M7 motorways and lies between Muizenberg and Khayelitsha. It stretches all the way to the coast and includes a beautiful coastline where fishermen can often be seen casting their lines. There is also a developed area for beach goers with a playground for children and a swimming pool.
The popular coastal areas of Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town are also close by and the views from Mitchells Plain is quite lovely, especially towards Muizenberg and the sea side says Louise Joemat, Sales Supervisor for the area.
Mitchell’s Plain is very much the heartbeat of the area affectionately known as the ‘flats’ or Cape Flats and is home to about 700,000 residents and a sizeable property market of about 88 000 homes, predominantly freehold.
It comprises of a number of sub-areas such as Westridge, Portland, Tafelsig, Eastridge, Beacon Valley, Lentegeur, Woodlands, Weltevreden Valley, Colorado Park, Mandalay and Watergate Fase 2. The western half is home to a wealthier population.
The total property market transactions for the last year stands at around 2,322 sales to the combined value of R648,062,000. This translates to an average sales price of around R279,096. In reality though, prices vary drastically across the area, from very affordable to middle-class, says Grobbelaar.
In most areas, the average prices have strengthened very nicely over the last ten years, especially in the five years since 2010 although Grobbelaar expects that growth will now stall in view of the poor economic outlook for this year.
The area has nonetheless delivered excellent growth over the last few years and this certainly bodes well going forward, he adds.
Where the average price of a house at the lower end of the market was R85,000 in 2005, it is now R230,000, almost 270% more and up by 130% in the five years since 2010. At the top end of the scale, the average price is up from R254,000 to R680,000 which also translates to about 270% growth over ten years and about 150% up since 2010.
Joemat says that although the area is faced with significant socio-economic challenges, especially in certain areas, it boasts a very a unique energy and vibrant sub-culture. There is a strong community spirit and people are reluctant to move out of the area unless they are looking to upgrade. Even then, it tends to be to the more upmarket suburbs of the False Bay coast.
It is a nice stepping-stone area for lower income first time buyers, she adds. You can for example still find an older basic cottage with up to three bedrooms for about R300,000-R400,000 and there are plenty of bigger houses that are a bit older with nice garden space for around the R600,000-R800,00 mark.
Bigger houses, especially in the better areas can go for as much as R900,000 to R1.5 million on average, but can range to about R2.2 million for a spacious four-bedroomed home with modern finishes along with a double garage and swimming pool. There are plenty of new developments with prices starting from around R400,000.
Mitchell’s Plain is a very vibrant area, home to an eclectic mix of cultures with strong Cape Malay influences with its origins in District Six. Along with the Bo Kaap, it is also the heartland of the Cape Minstrels.
Many famous South Africans have called the area home at some point over the years. These include Lynne Brown (Minister of Public Enterprises), comedienne Kurt Schoonraad, South Africa’s first chess grandmaster, Kenny Solomon, Brandon October (Idols 2002 runner-up), the rapper ‘AKA’, the artist Dion Cupido and jazz musician, Benjamin Jephta. 20SK8, South Africa’s best known skate collective also has its roots in the Cape Flats.
There is a central business district (CBD), locally known as the ‘town centre’ and excellent facilities, from government services to shopping malls including the large Promenade Shopping Centre that boasts top retail, food and other brands.
There is also a bustling informal economy with many small businesses and street markets, from daily fruit and veg vendors to the weekly market on the beachfront area between Mitchells Plain and Muizenberg.
The transport infrastructure includes rail, taxi and bus services with the MyCiti service now being extended into the area, says Joemat. Add to that plenty of sport facilities include football and a Virgin Active gym in Westgate Mall.
There are about 85 schools in the area and Spine Road High School became the first ever to boast a 100% pass rate, achieved in 2015.
There are plenty of recreational areas and facilities, from parks and playgrounds to football fields and a number of sport clubs.
Mitchells Plain is an ideal place to get a foothold in the market, says Joemat. Given the demand for especially affordable housing, property values are likely to continue ticking up in line with overall economic growth.
While an exciting area for home buyers, especially first timers, this is also a sector plagued by challenges – obtaining home loans being the chief among these, says Joemat. Financial difficulty and poor credit worthiness drive many to the rental market which is quite substantial here. Agencies such as Seeff therefore provides extensive assistance to aspirant home buyers in this regard.