The well-established, leafy suburb of Tokai has for many years been one of Cape Town’s most popular residential locations that ticks all the boxes, but one key commodity has become very rare in this sought-after area – greenfield land for new development.
According to Herculene Visser, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, this has been the case for a number of years, which makes the release of four 500m² plots a very rare investment opportunity.
“Launched by Royal African Projects this month and marketed exclusively by Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, these four stands not only offer investors a chance to obtain one of the last available plots in Tokai but, as they are being sold as individual freestanding units rather than as part of a cluster development, buyers have the luxury of freedom of choice”.
“Investors have the option of purchasing just the land to build themselves according to the developers or they can buy off-plan and work with Royal Africa Projects’ experienced team to create their dream homes, thereby alleviating the burden of overseeing the construction as well as saving considerable time as all the initial groundwork has already been done.”
Stan Evans, Managing Director of Royal African Projects says: “It is essential to us that the development of this prime site is not only in harmony with the area but that it is also flexible enough to meet buyers’ individual needs and budgets”.
“To this end, we have created three unique styled designs and allocated a substantial prime cost allowance in the contract to allow buyers to select their own fittings, fixtures and finishes rather than have to choose from a pre-selected range”.
“Additionally, although the basic design templates are complete, they can be adapted according to investors’ lifestyle requirements. They can; for instance, incorporate a family TV room or study instead of an extra bedroom.”
Evans adds that the individual designs also vary in size; one being a compact, low maintenance single level home which is ideal for downsizing empty-nesters and young professionals seeking lock-up-and-go convenience, whilst the other two design options are for more spacious double storey family homes.
Visser says that an additional appeal factor is that the plots are ideally positioned in a quiet cul-de-sac which not only offers a security advantage but also a tranquil environment undisturbed by passing traffic.
“Home owners will have the best of both worlds; a peaceful suburban lifestyle along with the convenience of being in proximity to myriad amenities available in the area.”
Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says: “Many investors realising the advantages of buying off plan rather than purchasing an existing home”.
“They get to move into a brand new home with no defects and not only do they save on costs such as project management, labour costs and materials as these expenses are shared between the buyers, but they also avoid certain costs altogether such as the transfer duty, from which newly built properties are exempt. The attorneys transfer fee, however is separate”.
“Additionally, for qualified buyers banks will frequently finance the total cost of the house, including the VAT and all fees. When you’re buying an existing house these costs, including transfer fees, are always separate and require a considerable additional outlay at the time of purchase.”
Geffen adds that buying off-plan also has the financial edge over building your own home from scratch as certain initial steps have already been completed and expenses such as design and quantity surveyors’ fees are avoided.
Claude McKirby, co-principal of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs says: “There is only one other similar development in Tokai and all three units were quickly snapped up”.
“Not only is there a dearth of available land in Tokai, but with just over half the residents remaining in their homes for 11 years or longer, there is also a low turnover of properties and therefore not a lot of stock available”.
McKirby adds that the suburb is also seeing a growing demand from younger buyers, with under-35s now making up a quarter of new buyers.
“Part of Tokai’s appeal for families is that the property landscape is still dominated by freehold homes and also offers buyers a choice of options across all price bands”.
“The entry level price for an older family home is around R3 million, with the accessible mid-market price band of up to R3.5m accounting for 50% of house sales. Despite the economic slump, the upper end of the market is still fairly active, with 20% of house sales being homes priced between R4.5m and R10m during the last year.”
McKirby believes that the market appetite for residential property in Tokai is unlikely to wane and that this high demand will keep prices steady for the foreseeable future.
“The suburb’s desirability attracts a cross section of buyers, from families who are looking to upgrade from nearby areas like Plumstead, Kirstenhof and Muizenberg to upmarket empty-nesters looking to downsize”.
“We are also fielding an increasing number of inquiries from False Bay suburbs, as many families want to be closer to facilities such as schools and also eliminate a section of the peak-hour commute to town.”
Says Visser: “Tokai is a stone’s throw from the recently upgraded Blue Route Mall as well as Steenberg Shopping Centre and only a few minutes’ drive to several of Cape Town’s top schools, including Reddam, the American International School, Waldorf and Wynberg Boy’s and Girl’s Junior and High Schools”.
“Residents also enjoy a wide array of recreational and outdoor facilities on the doorstep, including several mountain biking and hiking trails in the Tokai forest and access to two top golf courses.”
Due for completion at the beginning of the third quarter of 2017, plots in the new development are priced at R2.5m and off-plan contracts including land are priced at R5.5m, R6.25m or R6.75m (VAT inclusive), depending on the chosen design.