Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs are often all seen as very similar by those who aren’t familiar with them. Contrary to this rather misguided opinion, however, the Northern Suburbs of today caters to an impressive variety of lifestyles and languages, and is becoming even more diverse as time goes by.
Durbanville is generally considered to be one of the most upmarket suburbs in the Northern Suburbs, with large stands, luxurious homes, established trees and excellent amenities and schools. According to Louis Schoeman, the Rawson Property Group’s Durbanville franchisee, however, that doesn’t mean it’s only well-off, established families living in the area.
“One of Durbanville’s biggest assets is the fact that it offers something for all ages, cultures and lifestyles,” he says. “We have buyers of all kinds, from 18 to 80 years old, looking to join our relaxed, multilingual communities. Our most popular market segment is still medium to large family homes between R2.5 million and R3.5 million, but our apartments, townhouses and estates are definitely in demand as well.”
Typical prices in Durbanville range from R650 000 to R1.3 million for apartments, R1.3 million to R7 million for townhouses and R2.3 million to R20 million for freestanding homes. “We are at the upper end of the market in general,” says Schoeman, “but the range of property types means there are opportunities for everyone.”
On the other side of the N1 from Durbanville lies another extremely popular northern suburb with a more affordable range of properties, attracting an equally diverse selection residents.
“Bellville has a lot of really loyal residents,” says Emil Weiss, franchisee of the Rawson Property Group’s Bellville Oakdale franchise, “and it’s not unusual to find property owners who have lived here virtually their whole lives. With new buyers, however, we’re seeing a lot of younger people from various races and cultures moving in. We’re becoming a very multicultural area, which is great to see.”
Morne Veer, franchisee at the Rawson Property Group’s Bellville franchise, agrees with Weiss’ assessment of the evolving Bellville demographic. “The last ten years have seen our typical buyer changing, as people from all walks of life are catching on to the benefits of the Bellville lifestyle. We’re extremely central, with easy access to great schools, shopping centres and freeways, and we have some of the best value for money properties in Cape Town. The opportunity to modernise our older 50s-style homes is also very attractive to a lot of buyers, although real fixer-uppers are rare on the market these days.”
The most popular price points in the Bellville area, according to Weiss, begin at R350 000 to R1.1 million for sectional title and townhouse complexes, with single residential properties seeing the most action in the R1.2 million to R2 million band. “Properties below Voortrekker Road are available from as little as R250 000,” says Weiss, “and are in high demand all the way up to R1.2 million for single residences.”
“The mid-range market is the most active in Bellville at the moment,” adds Veer, “with most buyers looking for at least three bedrooms and secure parking for more than one car. Granny flats are also extremely popular, and homes with renovation potential fly off the shelf.”
While Bellville and Durbanville certainly each have their own, unique atmosphere and style, their agents are in agreement on the value of attracting a diverse selection of buyers. “Buyers fuel demand, and demand fuels price growth,” says Weiss. “If you only appeal to a narrow segment of the market, you’re unlikely to see the kind of growth momentum that we’ve had here.”
Whether diversity will be enough to carry this momentum through 2016 and beyond remains to be seen, but we can certainly hope this inclusive trend will continue, unabated.