In stark contrast to the belt-tightening national economic slump that is placing consumers under growing pressure, the Western Cape has emerged as the strongest and most stable regional housing market in the country, with an annual price growth of almost double the national average.
While the unfortunate drawback is that property is being placed further out of reach for many buyers, the silver lining is the growing investor appetite for homes in suburbs that were previously considered higher risk purchases that did not deliver platinum returns on investment and were slower to move.
This is according to Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, who says the sharp rise in investor interest in areas like Wynberg in Cape Town’s desirable southern suburbs has not only uplifted these areas, but is also attracting a wider diversity of buyers than in the past.
Geffen says according to Propstats the average price of freehold homes in Wynberg measured since November 2015 has been just over R2.95 million, while the average price of sectional title properties has been R1.13m, up from R1.07m during the preceding 12 months. The average price of freehold homes has also increased year-on-year, by approximately R400 000.
“Wynberg is in fact fast becoming a development hot spot. Both residential and commercial investments are set to soar with capital being pumped into the suburb, which is reflected in its growth and buyer demand. Wynberg is increasingly sought after by young working professionals with families because it is a catchment area for a number of good schools and this, in turn, is stimulating upmarket commercial development,” says Geffen.
“We are now seeing a large number of home renovations happening and new businesses opening, which is resulting in a general upgrade of the area and breathing new life into the suburb. The fact that ratepayers are prepared to pay an additional levy to fund a City Improvement District for their suburb also shows their deep commitment to its growth and development.”
The Chelsea is a recently launched upmarket residential development in Aliwal Road and, backed by Buffet Investments and Investec, nine of the 12 units were already snapped up on launch day.
And national homeware retail giant, HomeChoice, has not only opened shop in Wynberg but they have also bought and converted the old Southern Cross Hospital into A Grade Offices, adding a sixth executive floor which is now home to their corporate headquarters. This alone, brings 700 active business people into Wynberg on a daily basis.
Another recent bold development is My Domain Student Living; innovative, purpose-built student accommodation that is a complete departure from the traditional digs of yesteryear.
Housed in a converted art deco office block, My Domain was developed by the Swish Property Group in response to the burgeoning need for suitable, secure and affordable student accommodation in a city where rentals have kept pace with spiraling property values.
Giancarlo Lanfranchi, CEO Of Swish Property Group and owner and founder of My Domain, says: “Our goal was to create a safe, upmarket environment with all the necessary conveniences where students can concentrate on their studies and parents can enjoy peace of mind without breaking the bank for parents”.
“Key factors were security that extends to each key card-accessed residential floor, as well as comfort. Every single unit, from the 14m² studio at R3 850 per month to the 25m² Deluxe Studio at R5 250 and two twin accommodation options, has its own bathroom, kitchenette and study area. In addition to a large communal relaxation area, each floor has its own lounge and free wi-fi is available throughout the building.”
And in an increasingly sought-after suburb with rising property values, My Domain affords students the opportunity to live an increasingly upmarket area most parents wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford anymore.
The group has also shown their commitment to the area by investing in additional buildings around My Domain for development, consulting with the City Council to further uplift the area with projects like converting the town hall into a library and working closely with other local property owners regarding matters of community importance, such as security.
Lanfranchi says: “Wynberg’s allure is three-fold: it offers excellent value for money in a high value zone property zone where average sale prices in most neighbouring suburbs are considerably higher, it’s only a short drive or train ride to the CBD and investors have a wide variety of residential and commercial property options”.
“However, despite the ongoing development, Wynberg has retained its quaint village atmosphere with a proliferation of historical buildings, and at its heart is Chelsea Village which has an array of eclectic shops, cafes and restaurants. There are also two well-maintained parks in the suburb where families and outdoor lovers can relax and enjoy a tranquil respite.”
Wynberg’s desirable location in close proximity to myriad top class amenities including schools and the University of Cape Town, its excellent transport links to all the main nodes in the city as well as its promising return on investment, all bode well for the continued growth of this character-laden suburb.