Property value goes way beyond the fence, as the neighbourhood often says more than the house

It’s no coincidence that the best neighbourhoods with the best property values are generally the best kept, says Laurie Wener, managing director of Pam Golding Properties (PGP) in the Western Cape metro region.

“Raising values can be as straightforward as co-operating with your neighbours to keep the street clean, or not flouting the by-laws.”

The solution to degenerating suburban environments was found in the famous Broken Window Theory which was introduced in a 1982 study by American social scientists James Wilson and George Kelling and later applied by New York mayor Rudy Giuliani to revive decaying inner urban areas.

Wener says it’s about protecting and enhancing your investment.

“Many Cape Town homeowners spend a fortune on the interiors of their homes, and when the time comes to sell, they are surprised that they can’t reach their market price. A look at the surroundings of the house, even in high-value areas, can often point to the reason why a property is unattractive to buyers.

“A residential property is an entire package. Its external appearance, state of repair and the way it looks in context with its neighbours is the first impression buyers get. A house that’s shabbier than those around it, or even one that has been carelessly renovated can put people off before they even get to the front door. And if that’s the house next door to the one you want to buy – well it’s just as off-putting,” she says.

Adhering to municipal building regulations, removing litter and fixing what’s broken are the cornerstones of a stable neighbourhood. Even in Bishopscourt or Bantry Bay, an illegal construction, neglected pavement or shabby wall, broken windows, or a sagging gate can bring down the tone of the entire neighbourhood. Even a battered car parked at the roadside can kill a sale.

There are prime examples of how property values can soar when residents of an area start to improve the built elements and their surroundings. It’s no secret that some of today’s classiest, most sought-after suburbs in Cape Town were considered quite shabby a few decades ago. So what is it that brings an area out of the doldrums and turns Cinderella into the next best property proposition?

“It’s a sort of collective unconscious in a community and eventually it’s the first new brick in the wall that does it. Suddenly there’s a stirring, and in the beginning almost imperceptibly a new face emerges. Sometimes it’s just a tidier look as people buy the homes and instead of neglecting the streetside, they manicure the pavement, plant trees, paint the fences.”

In some suburbs it never happens, and Cape Town has a few of those. But if you take a place like Vredehoek and neighbouring Devil’s Peak as examples, the changes can be profound. Based on a community of tiny municipal ex-servicemen’s houses built after World War II, Devil’s Peak was not your first choice when looking for a place in the city only 20 years ago.

Then the rush to urbanise created a complete metamorphosis, as the little 40m2 houses suddenly, mushroom-like, sprouted extra floors and ground floor spaces that pushed the boundaries.

“Now the houses that sold for R350 000 15 years ago, are selling like hot cakes for over R3 million and more and the glossy faces of some of the showpiece streets rival traditional upmarket areas. And the innovative architecture, mothered by necessity, has created serried facades in streetscapes that look like a town planner’s dream of heaven,” says Wener.

The same has happened in the Atlantic seaboard neighbourhoods, like Green Point. New walls, planting, fresh frontages, rebuilds and neighbourhood renewal projects have enabled entire streets to reach their true potential as ocean-view mountainside mini-mansions worth many millions.

Southern suburbs areas such as Woodstock, Rosebank and the south peninsula, as well as parts of Kalk Bay and Simon’s Town, that may have once been considered shabby and dull, are now classified as trendy and desirable. This is reflected in the price growth of all these areas.

“And it all comes down to civic pride, respect for neighbours and a sense of responsibility to a community or the micro-environment in which people live. Neglect breeds neglect but, by the same token, sitting with the only shabby house in a street of pristine properties can be hugely motivating,” says Wener.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 20 Feb 2018
      Owning a home is a milestone that most South Africans aspire to. Becoming a homeowner is a step towards growing personal wealth and owning an asset that appreciates in value over time, provided of course that the correct principles are applied during the buying stage of the process, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    • 20 Feb 2018
      The suburb of Greenstone in Johannesburg east came to be over the last two decades. “In the beginning, it was literally just a hill with not so much as a shopping centre,” says Michael Levy, Property Consultant at Jawitz Properties Bedfordview. Today it has plenty shopping facilities and is fully built, boasting high-density, upmarket housing and residential estates, though still has a few pockets poised for commercial development.
    • 20 Feb 2018
      A major shift in the ageing paradigm has precipitated an equally dramatic transformation in the retirement sector, with modern accommodation options worlds away from the conventional model.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      Possibly one of the biggest sources of contention between landlords and tenants surrounds the rental deposit. “Most tenants rely on getting their rental deposits back when moving, so that they can use it to pay a deposit on their new home. Having it withheld or even having large amounts deducted can lead to a lot of distress,” explains Bruce Swain, CEO of Leapfrog Property Group.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      Situated approximately halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, Midrand was established in 1981 and forms part of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. It has become one of the major business hubs in the country with major pharmaceutical, textile, telecommunication and motoring giants situated within its boundaries.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      The PayProp Rental Index Annual Review of 2017 shows that the rental market suffered from much volatility during the year. It kicked off with rental growth spiking in January with weighted year-on-year growth (YoY) growth peaking at 8.3% before dropping to 6.34% in July, dipping down to less than 5% in November and then experiencing a slight uptick at 5.75% in December.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      While most homes in cluster complexes, estates and other gated communities come with at least one garage or carport, residents would often like additional permanent parking or storage areas for things like trailers, bikes, boats and caravans.
    • 16 Feb 2018
      Whether you own a property in a sectional title complex or are looking to invest in one, the financial standing of the body corporate is the single most important thing that can affect your investment or your buying decision.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us