Advice and Opinion

Demand for estate homes in Cape Town's Southern Suburbs remains strong

This gracious 889m² home set on the mountainside at Silversteen has four bedrooms plus a separate guest suite. On the market for R17.95 million, features include sweeping views over False Bay, a gym, wine cellar, staff accommodation and an auto-start generator. Homes on this exclusive estate rarely come on the market and are quickly snapped up when they do.

Demand for homes in secure estates in Cape Town remains strong in spite of the economic slump, with estates in Constantia and Tokai being especially sought-after for their scenic location, high levels of security and significantly above average return on investment for homes below R10 million.

Much like the property market on the Atlantic Seaboard, lifestyle estates in the Constantiaberg have shown resilience against market fluctuations, with solid and consistent growth recorded between 2005 and 2015.

This is according to Arnold Maritz, Southern Suburbs Co-Principal for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, who says: “Lightstone research reveals that the average sale price of estate properties below R10 million in Constantia and Tokai increased from R2.4m in 2005 to R3.8m in 2010, which equates to 9.23% compound growth”.

“However, estate properties in this price band have really come into their own post the economic crash of 2008. From an average price of R3.8m in 2010, the average sale price increased to R6.75m last year, delivering a healthy 11.55% compound growth over five years”.

According to Maritz, the converse was true for the R10m plus price band for estate homes in Constantia, which experienced its sharpest escalation between 2005 and 2010, when prices jumped by 41% from R11.62m to R16.34m, translating to a year-on-year compound return on investment of 6.84% over that period.

“The median price decreased after that with the average sale price in this bracket sitting at R12.77m by the end of 2015.”

“However, this does not mean that homes dropped in value. During that period, many new homes were released onto the market in various estates at varying prices. This price band also consistently reflected more notable average price variations between the different estates.”

The highest sale prices achieved in Tokai and Constantia estates last year were: R20m at High Steenberg, R15.3m at Silverhurst, R13.12m at Steenberg Golf estate and R11m at Sillery, a brand new development in the Constantia Valley where only two plots remain.

Dave Burger, Estate Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Tokai, says that the buoyant estate market at the foot of the Constantiaberg Mountain peaked in 2014, when turnover spiked by 60% in just one year.

“The economic and political turmoil over the past year did create a ripple in the market but, whilst turnover has decreased marginally, average unit selling prices have continued to rise”.

“The main reason for this is the high premium that buyers now place on security which is the overriding common denominator consistently topping the list in a broad buyer demographic.”

Burger adds that, in spite of the slight dip in demand, stock shortages are still being felt as demand continues to exceed supply and this is exacerbated by the fact that home owners in popular estates tend to hang onto their properties.

This is especially true for the more established estates as well as exclusive developments like Silversteen in which there are only 13 homes perched on the mountainside.

“These properties seldom come onto the market and it’s usually only through sheer luck or patience that an investor will acquire a home at Silversteen”.

“However, Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Tokai currently has sole mandate on two of these sought-after homes which is a rare investment opportunity. One is a compact, fully equipped three bedroom house for R11m and the other is an expansive family home with a guest suite at R17.95m.”

However, while secure estate living is at a premium and prices are climbing, Burger says that there are still accessible options. When they are available, townhouses at Stonehurst Mountain Estate, start at around R4m and a spacious freehold homes can be bought for R7m.

Joanna Thomas, Select Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Constantia Upper, says that there are several key factors which determine demand and, in turn, property values in estates.

“Well-established developments with proven management track records are always more sought after as are those with excellent security which includes features like electric fencing, manned gates and armed patrols”.

“Lifestyle is another big draw card and buyers are attracted by on-site facilities like golf courses, gyms, sports facilities, walking trails and parks.”

Burger and Thomas say that the majority of their recent sales were to local investors, predominantly from Cape Town and Gauteng, but both are fielding a growing number of queries from Durban and South Africans returning home after living abroad.

Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty says that another reason people are preferring estate living is the high cost of maintaining large properties in terms of upkeep, staff and ever-increasing property rates and taxes.

“They are also free of the responsibility of maintenance and instead of spending the weekend mowing the lawn, people can enjoy the array of nearby recreational and entertainment facilities, from beaches and hiking trails to world-class wine farms”.

Geffen adds that growing demand has also spurred retail and commercial development in the area.

“The upmarket residential increase over the past ten years has driven demand for convenience shops and restaurants, especially in Tokai where locals now have most amenities on their doorsteps, either at Steenberg Village shopping centre, Blue Route Mall and myriad shops and restaurants. There are a number of secure office parks as well and a Medicross clinic.”