Areas and Places

Constantia captures the family market

Constantia is known as one of Cape Town’s most affluent suburbs, with prices venturing well into the eight figure ballpark more often than not. Typically, properties of this caliber tend to stagnate during times of economic turmoil, and yet this popular suburb shows few signs of slowing down during the global financial downtown experienced over the last year.

“Constantia is a very special suburb in that it offers quite a unique lifestyle,” says Nancy Todd, the Rawson Property Group’s franchisee for the area. “The properties are large, the grounds are spacious, there’s plenty of lush greenery and open land – it’s a type of environment that is becoming increasingly scarce as densification continues to sweep across Cape Town.”

As always, rarity has only served to heighten demand, and Constantia has become an aspirational suburb for many young families looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city living, yet to be in easy commuting distance to Cape Town CBD.

“We’re seeing increasing numbers of buyers in the thirty-five to forty-five age group moving into Constantia,” says Gerald Romanovsky, a sales agent at the Rawson Property Group’s Constantia franchise. “A lot of them are coming from busier parts of the city, but are looking for a quieter, more natural environment in which to raise children. Urban living can be great for singles and young couples, but it’s not always very child-friendly.”

It may come as a surprise that enough people within this age group can afford Constantia prices, particularly with the increases in transfer fees and interest rates, and the relatively high municipal rates in the area. According to Romanovsky, however, a lack of buyers is definitely not a problem.

“We are still struggling to get enough stock to cater to demand,” he reveals, “particularly in our most popular price bracket of R8 million to R10 million. Anything under R5 million is rare as hen’s teeth. Of course, that does mean growth in this price range is good, and we’ve seen nominal appreciation of around 8% over the last year. Our top end properties aren’t seeing the same movement, and are fairly static at present.”

The most common requests from buyers at present are four bedrooms, a manageable but spacious garden – preferably with a borehole – and a quiet location. A north-facing aspect is also a major plus, as is plenty of parking.

According to Romanovsky, a significant proportion of stock is coming from long-term residents who are scaling down and moving to retirement villages. This has opened up some great opportunities to renovate older homes, and even subdivide larger properties.

“There are still a lot of old Constantia homes from the sixties and seventies,” he says, “which are slowly being brought up to modern standards, or demolished and replaced with contemporary designs. We’re not totally exempt from the trend of densification either, and we expect to see quite a few more compact homes and even retirement villages being built in the area.”

While this may seem counterproductive to Constantia’s spacious, bucolic appeal, Romanovsky believes that developments in the area will strive to maintain the typical Constantia feel. “We definitely have a particular type of buyer here, and high-density living is not their thing. There is room for a few more low-maintenance options however.”