Just ten minutes’ drive from the CBD, easily accessible from both the N1 and N2 freeways, lies Pinelands – Cape Town’s original garden suburb. Boasting shady, tree-lined avenues, spacious properties, and some iconic thatch-roofed architecture, Pinelands is renowned for its peace and tranquility, and – up until quite recently – its elderly population.
“In the past, Pinelands was always a firm favorite with retirement-aged buyers,” admits Anthony McCarthy, sales agent at the Rawson Property Group’s Pinelands franchise. “It’s still got some extremely popular retirement facilities, but lately we’re seeing a lot more interest from younger buyers, who are noticing the good value and great family lifestyle Pinelands has to offer.”
With a number of well-regarded pre-primary, primary and high schools within walking distance of most Pinelands homes, and a great selection of local shops, sports clubs, medical facilities and restaurants on offer, it’s easy to understand why families are drawn to the area. The predominantly freestanding houses with larger-than-average erf sizes also offer more space and privacy than many other Cape Town suburbs – a very attractive feature in today’s day and age.
“Pinelands is quite unique in that it was the very first town-planned garden city in South Africa,” says McCarthy. “The layout and infrastructure was specifically designed to facilitate a green, tranquil and healthy living environment, and that makes it very popular with people who want to get away from the densification taking place in other Cape Town suburbs.”
Families looking for a house in Pinelands can expect to pay anything from R1.7 million to R5.5 million, and will, on average, get an erf of 800 or 900 m2. “Olde Pinelands, with its original Tudor-style thatch-roofed houses, is even more spacious – but also more expensive – as are the homes backing onto the Mowbray Golf Course in what is known as the Champagne District,” says McCarthy. “The rest of Pinelands varies in price according to proximity to the periphery of the suburb, and the size, quality, and design of the house.”
Families aren’t the only young buyers becoming more active in the Pinelands property market, however, with sectional title properties in high demand with singles, first-time buyers and buy-to-let investors. “You can find sectional title properties for as little as R600 000 or R700 000 in Pinelands,” says McCarthy, “with great accessibility to freeways, hospitals, schools, financial institutions and UCT. That makes them very convenient as starter homes or excellent rental opportunities, and the fact that demand continually outweighs supply bodes very well for growth potential.”
An interesting side-effect of the influx of younger buyers in Pinelands is the increase in renovations taking place, as older, fifties-style homes are snapped up for their potential. “There are a lot of well-built houses on lovely grounds that haven’t yet been updated with all the mod-cons,” says McCarthy, “and we’re seeing a lot of buyers investing heavily in upgrades and updates that are turning these into wonderful, modern homes.”
According to McCarthy, these kinds of improvements can be extremely beneficial to the suburb as a whole. “It’s a rejuvenation process that will only make Pinelands even more attractive to buyers in future,” he says.
This trend is predicted to continue in spite of the uncertain economic climate, and McCarthy reports that buyers appear undeterred by the increasing interest rates. “Prices are continuing to increase at an average of 6% per annum,” he says, “and we have a steady flow of stock, and good demand. We’re not expecting this to change significantly in the near future, and are looking forward to a positive 2016″.