Areas and Places Residential

Super wealthy splurging on R20m plus properties despite ‘political noise’

A R75 million property in Bantry Bay, Cape Town.
A R75 million property in Bantry Bay, Cape Town.

South Africa’s business confidence has strengthened to a three-year high and Samuel Seeff, chairman of the Seeff Property Group believes confidence is returning to the R20 million-plus super luxury sector of the property market.

The group has seen a notable uptick in activity in the super luxury areas since late 2020 and they have concluded many high value sales above the R20 million price bracket.

These include R40 million and R36 million in Fresnaye, four sales in Camps Bay ranging between R21.5 million to R32.38 million, R20.2 million in Bantry Bay, R45 million at the V&A Waterfront, R23.5 million in Bishopscourt, R20 million in Constantia Upper, R55 million in Plettenberg Bay – one of the highest prices achieved – and R24.5 million in Zimbali, the highest price over the past year.

After a quiet period following the onset of Covid-19, it seems that wealthy buyers globally are looking for better surroundings to spend their lockdown periods in, he says.

The LA Times for example, reports that ultra-rich Americans are still buying USD$50 million homes while The Guardian reports that London’s super-prime luxury property market increased, and it was the world leader in 2020. The Financial Times reports that super luxury sales in Sydney rose by 42% compared to 2019.

While the top end revival of the market is led by foreign buyers, it is also South African expats who are showing confidence says Seeff. Although they are buying predominantly in coastal areas such as Cape Town, Plettenberg Bay and the KwaZulu-Natal coast, sales are taking place in the suburbs.

It seems that outsiders are showing more confidence. Seeff says this is because they are not paying attention to the current ‘political noise’ and are focusing on taking advantage of the great value and opportunity in the top end of the market.

This is indeed a missed opportunity for local high-net worth buyers considering that you are currently buying at the same prices as three years ago. Seeff says that while top end prices have remained at the same level for the past three years, luxury property continues to offer an excellent store for wealth.

The exceptional value growth of the Atlantic Seaboard is well reported. Consider for example that ten years ago, nothing sold above R20 million in Camps Bay. These days, it is home to the highest volume of R20 million-plus sales”, he adds.

South Africa boasts the most exclusive super luxury market on the African continent with spectacular properties located in various areas and five of the most exclusive suburbs on the continent. Seeff was a recent guest presenter on South Africa’s luxury homes to the National Association of Realtors in America (NAR) with a membership of 1.4 million where he showcased some of the most spectacular listings in the USD$1.5 million to USD$14 million range.

The moderator of the webinar remarked on the outstanding value considering that a modest apartment in a trendy area in the USA would easily set you back USD$1 million. Seeff says that when you look at what this buys you in South Africa, it is understandable why foreign buyers are so attracted to the country.

South Africa is an excellent value proposition. People want to visit the country because of its warm climate, quality of life, access to amenities and tourist attractions. The first world IT infrastructure means you can comfortably work from home and do business online anywhere in the world”.

Despite the Covid predicted gloom and doom there has been no collapse of the market or a burst of the property bubble, far from it. In fact, Seeff says that overall, activity in the market remains above pre-Covid levels with some areas doing better compared to 2019.

Many areas are achieving record sales and prices and the latest Deeds Office and sales data shows the top ten suburbs in the country now all command an average selling price above R10 million. Comparing the average prices of 2011 to 2021, these now rank as:

Clifton – R23 million versus R13 million (up by 77% since 2011).

Llandudno – R22 million versus R6 million (267% up).

Bantry Bay – R15 million versus R7 million (114% up).

Sandhurst – R15 million versus R12 million (25% up).

Camps Bay – R14 million versus R6 million (133% up).

Constantia Upper – R14 million versus R7 million (100% up).

Bishopscourt – R14 million versus R13 million (8% up).

Fresnaye – R13 million versus R7 million (86% up).

Hyde Park – R13 million versus R6 million (117% up).

V&A Waterfront – R12 million (sectional title only) versus R7 million (71% up).

The Cape Town suburbs, especially those of the Atlantic Seaboard, show significant average price growth as demonstrated above and the super luxury sector of the market offers one of the best buying opportunities in over a decade and many sellers are keen to negotiate” he concludes.