Young, cash-rich buyers boost Camps Bay property market

With its mix of freehold and sectional title homes, Camps Bay property remains popular despite the overall slowing in the economy and housing market, and the average sales price for the suburb is now about R1.5 million more than last year, according to Ian Slot, Seeff’s managing director for the Atlantic seaboard and City Bowl.

“The rental market too is booming and ever higher rates are being paid for homes in the suburb with luxury houses now fetching from R50 000 to R150 000 a month,” says Slot.

“The property market here is delivering stellar performance for sellers. Based on this year’s sales recorded on Propstats, the average price in Camps Bay is now almost R10m, some R1.5m or about 20 percent more than last year’s R8.4m.

“In under five years, the average house price for the suburb has increased from around R6.5m, over 50 percent or some R3.5m more. Less than 20 percent of sales now fall under R5m and these are all apartments. You will now be hard pressed to find a freehold house for less,” says Slot.

“It is also not the traditionally older buyers, but younger, cash-rich buyers who have driven much of the activity. More than 60 percent of the R1.5bn in sales since the start of last year has come from younger buyers, about 80 percent of these being cash deals.”

He says that although most buyers are from within the Cape metro, some have come from KwaZulu-Natal and especially Gauteng, mostly Johannesburgers, investing in holiday, retirement and investment homes. Many though are moving to the city permanently.

Since the start of 2014, a total of 174 properties worth just over R1.5 billion have been sold in the suburb, according to Seeff’s two teams of agents.

“Agents Pola and Nadine Jocum for example sold eight properties in one month recently,” says Slot.

“Freehold houses remain the biggest seller accounting for some 66 percent of activity with 114 units sold to the value of almost R1.175bn. These were sold at an average price of R10.3m, almost 60 percent more than five years ago when the average was around R6.5m.

“Where only about 10 percent of all freehold house sales were above the R10m price mark ranging to a highest price of only R13.5m five years ago, almost 40 percent of recent sales are above that level. This includes six R20m-plus sales ranging to R24m, the highest price achieved this year for a home sold by Seeff agents, Lyn Pope and Rochelle Serman.”

Slot says that 60 sectional title units worth just under R386m were sold at an average price of R6.44m. Most of these were apartments with about half of all sales under R5m.

“Overall, Camps Bay sales continue to outpace its neighbours this year with 65 units sold compared to 42 in Fresnaye, 23 in Bantry Bay, 12 in Clifton and 32 at the V&A Waterfront.”

Pope and Serman recently sold an older home in Park Avenue, about two blocks up from the beach for R9.5m, more than the listing price of R8.995m. The house is being demolished to make way for a new one.

“This particular property was bought in 2007 for R5.5m and was sold for a profit of R4m, delivering a return on investment of 173 percent in seven years. This also illustrates just how good an investment property in the suburb is,” say the agents.

Pola Jocum, who has been operating in the area for more than 35 years, says Camps Bay property values are likely to continue heading upwards regardless of the economic challenges.

“The number of properties is limited, so buyers are prepared to pay ever-higher prices.”

The suburb also has a very dynamic rental market and, according to agents Christine Ireland and Tamar Cheerin, long term rentals now range from around R30 000 a month to around R80 000 on average for a house, but can go as high as R150 000 for exclusive homes with remarkable finishes and sea views.

The suburb is also extremely popular for short term lets, especially with holiday makers who flock here over the summer months. Daily rates can now range to about R15 000.

Each area in Camps Bay has distinctive characteristics and atmosphere that draw buyers, says the Jocums. The Glen, next to the nature reserve on the slopes of Lions Head, is a leafy wind sheltered area. The village area covers the beachfront and parallel roads which originally consisted of single storey bungalow-style houses, but has developed into a mix of old style character and luxury new homes.

Bakoven lies close to the sea and has a mix of beach bungalows whereas Barley Bay consists largely of new luxury apartments overlooking the bay. Finally, there is Rontree, a vast area from the slopes of Table Mountain to Camps Bay Drive.

“Almost any well-priced house or flat under the R8m to R10m price range is now snapped up quite rapidly,” says Slot. “The demand for older houses and apartments priced to about R8m is especially strong. Modern homes tend to be in demand to about the R16m range, but there is strong demand to about the R30m range.

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