Prosperity of Cape Town’s CBD fuelling City Bowl residential market

Long considered to be the home of hipsters and trendy youngsters, Cape Town’s City Bowl has undergone an image transformation in recent years and is now one of the most desirable residential areas in Cape Town, attracting a broad spectrum of buyers and offering solid returns on investment.

This beautifully renovated two-bedroom apartment in Gardens in Cape Town is on the market for R1.995 million.

This is according to Ryan Greeff, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, who says that data on Propstats clearly demonstrates the changing face of the City Bowl property market.

“In 2005, the average sale price of a freestanding home in Vredehoek or Gardens was between R1.6 million and R1.8m, with areas like Tamboerskloof realising slightly higher median prices of around R2.6m.

“In 2015 to date, the average freestanding home in Vredehoek costs R4.8m and the average family home in Tamboerskloof will realise a sale price of just over R9m,” says Greeff.

However, Greeff cautions that while demand for homes in the City Bowl will always remain high because of its proximity to the CBD, the slowing of the national economy and the move out of a seller’s market has affected this area just as much as the rest of the country.

Marthinus Botha, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty notes that they are also seeing a lot of renovation in the City Bowl at the moment which is giving the area as a whole a refreshing facelift.

“Many investors are buying older properties within their budgets and then renovating over time, and we are also seeing existing owners sprucing up their older houses to increase the value of their properties.”

Although the entry level segment of the market is still the most active with an increasing number of investors keen to get their foot in the investment door, Botha says that there has been a notable increase in demand for properties in the R4m to R6m price band.

“Gardens and Vredehoek currently offer the best value for money at the entry level, with apartments starting at around R850 000 for a bachelor and R1.8m for a two bedroom apartment if one happens to come onto the market.

“Older houses which need a little TLC can be found for between R3.8m and R4.2m.”

According to Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, there are several key factors which prompted the turnaround of the property market in the City Bowl.

“Cape Town’s population has grown massively over the past decade and the resultant traffic congestion and ever-increasing commuter time from the suburbs has prompted people across the demographic spectrum to reconsider their priorities and lifestyle values.

“The change in perception was also spurred by the fact that the City Bowl offers investors a wide range of options, from starter bachelor pads through to opulent modern homes, which makes the City Bowl accessible and attractive to most investors, from first time buyers to established professionals.”

Geffen believes that the City Bowl is set to become increasingly popular as there is no more available land for development, while rapid development in the CBD is significantly increasing the daily working population in the downtown area.

“The city centre is benefiting greatly from investment running into billions of Rands, with massive projects like the recently completed 32-floor commercial Portside building, the doubling in capacity of the Cape Town International Convention Centre and the construction of the new Christian Barnard Hospital.”

Botha says that a spin-off of the increased business activity in the city is that more corporate investors are snapping up City Bowl properties as an investment or for their commuting executives.

“It also bodes well for the rental market which is currently very active, with agents experiencing a shortage of stock in certain areas and market segments. 

“Although correctly priced rental properties are almost always snapped up as soon as they hit the market, the monthly rentals that can be achieved vary substantially depending on a number of factors including size, location, condition, views and security.”

Greeff says that the current political uncertainty in the country doesn’t seem to have had much impact on foreign investment as particularly South Africans living abroad remain keen to take advantage of a weaker Rand and invest in property in Cape Town.

“They are attracted to the City Bowl for its conveniently central location which offers easy access to the inner city and its vibrant nightlife and is also a stone’s throw from some of the best beaches in the world and popular attractions like Table Mountain and the Waterfront.

“In addition residents love the fact that they can quite literally stroll down the road to a wide array of excellent restaurants, cosy cafes and myriad retail offerings. There are also more and more regular events in the revitalised CBD such as First Thursdays, Moonlight Mass cycle ride and a number of markets.”

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