While South Africa’s property market as a whole has been experiencing an undeniable slow-down, Cape Town’s central southern suburb of Rondebosch continues to exceed expectations on the property front. In fact, demand remains so high that despite the number of large residential developments that have been built, buyers still outnumber sellers by a notable margin.
“A huge draw to Rondebosch is the student market,” says Marietjie Pretorius, a sale agent with the Rawson Property Group’s Constantia franchise who, together with her partner Kallie, specialises in the Rondebosch area. “Being so close to UCT, with easy access to shops, sporting facilities and entertainment makes Rondebosch an exceptionally convenient base for students. They can basically walk everywhere they need to go, and still be safe enough that their parents don’t need to worry.”
Students certainly drive demand in the rental market, making up a large proportion of tenants in both apartments and house-shares, but they are far from the sole reason for Rondebosch’s popularity.
“The heart of Rondebosch has always been family,” says Kallie Pretorius, “and a lot of buyers choose to live here because of its spacious properties and great schools. More than that, however, is the fact that there are options for people of all ages in the area, and grannies and grandads can live just down the road from their families and grandkids.”
For the mature market, Rondebosch’s excellent retirement villages and world-class healthcare facilities are a big asset, but it’s also conveniently close to the CBD and a short drive from several industrial areas for people of working age. Sports-lovers will enjoy the nearby cricket and rugby stadiums, and foodies can take advantage of a number of highly-regarded restaurants and cafés.
With such a broad target market, it’s not surprising that demand in Rondebosch is so high, but buyers do have some common requests that cross all demographic borders.
“Security has definitely become one of the most important features for buyers,” says Marietjie Pretorius, “whether they’re looking at apartments, cottages, family homes or retirement estates. Rondebosch is not a high-crime area, but people want to feel secure in their homes, and putting good crime-prevention measures in place can be a solid investment.”
Speaking of investments, Rondebosch’s capital growth has remained consistently above inflation, and high rental yields have made it a popular area for buy-to-let purchases. One- and two-bedroomed apartments are favourites for this purpose, selling for up to R2 million on average, but freehold houses and cottages are also a good option.
“You can still find a cottage in Rondebosch Village for around R2 million,” says Kallie Pretorius, “and they make ideal starter homes and student digs. Bigger family homes in Park Estate run a little higher at up to R5 million, and the Golden Mile and Sunnybrae top off the price bracket with homes between R7 million and R15 million.”
As a side effect of the high demand in Rondebosch – particularly for sectional title units – there has been a dramatic increase in property development over the last few years. While residents fear the increasing density brought about by large apartment blocks may decrease their property values, the Pretorius’ believe the opposite is actually true.
“The more modern, trendy developments that are built, the more modern, trendy residents Rondebosch will attract, and the higher the values of those properties will rise,” says Kallie Pretorius. “Freehold homes will also benefit from the popularity of the neighbourhood, and their general scarcity, and will remain highly sought-after by families looking for a convenient, fashionable and central place to raise their children.”