Waterfront residential market in a league of its own

Since the launch of the V&A Waterfront’s residential component in December 1999, the precinct has enjoyed solid year-on-year growth and a steadily increasing demand, firmly establishing it as a glowing jewel in the crown of the prestigious Atlantic seaboard market.

MARINA LIFESTYLE: The view from a luxurious three-bedroom apartment with a wraparound glass balcony at the V&A Marina.

With 1 051 transactions to date with a combined value of R6.6 billion, the Waterfront residential market has, for the most part, bucked national market trends since inception, achieving an impressive combined year-on-year price escalation of 361 percent since the beginning of 2000.

That’s according to Ross Levin, Atlantic seaboard and city operations and development manager for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.

He says: “Comprising the canals and the front yacht basin, in 2014 the V&A Waterfront achieved its highest rand values since 2007 with 64 sales realising a combined value of R622 million. However, despite the national economic slump, this sought-after market’s buoyancy has continued with the V&A Waterfront achieving the highest rand value in sales on the Atlantic seaboard from the beginning of 2015 to date with 44 sales realising R454m during this short period.

“This is followed by Mouille Point at R431m (72 sales), Clifton at R273m (27 sales) and Bantry Bay where 38 sales fetched R231m.”

Lynn Pinn  of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International realty says: “Traditionally more units were sold on the canals than the front yacht basin with a total of 785 sales (75 percent) worth R4.1bn since 2000, compared to 266 sales (25 percent) for a combined value of R2.49bn in the front yacht basin.

“However, both sectors have consistently offered excellent returns on investment with original investors who have hung onto their properties realising a solid nominal average year-on-year increase of 11 percent and 10 percent for the canals and front yacht basin during this time.

“More recently, measured between 2010 and 2015, a purchase in either the canals or front yacht basin will have yielded a nominal year-on-year growth of 9 percent.”

Pinn says that in 2000 the average sale value on the canals was R1.6m at R13 900/m² and R2.6m at R13 725/m² in the front yacht basin. By 2015, the average sale prices had risen to R9.3m at R64 000/m² and R14m at R76 000/m².

Levin says that although sales were lower during the first quarter of 2016 than the same period last year, market activity spiked in April and has continued into May.

“Despite the relative decline, demand is still very strong and sellers of realistically priced properties are achieving their full listing prices, with most properties spending very little time on the market.

“Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty recently sold a three-bedroom front yacht basin apartment in under a day of listing for the full price of R34.143m, which is the highest average square metre rate ever achieved in  the Waterfront, at R132 337/m².

“We also sold an apartment in Kylemore for R12.995m before it was even released to the market.”

Levin says that during the first quarter of 2016, Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty has sold more than R100m worth of property in this precinct.

Lew Geffen, chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says: “South African investors still dominate this market, with increasing demand from buyers from other parts of the country, especially Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. There is still constant foreign buyer interest, but they are by far in the minority.

“We have also had increasing inquiries from investment buyers as the marina enjoys a very strong short term rental market with excellent rental returns, especially due to its proximity to the convention centre and the CBD, which are serviced by the red shuttle boats on the canal that depart from the One & Only Hotel every half hour.

“However,” says Geffen, “over the years there has been a marked shift towards buyers acquiring accommodation for permanent residence as the development offers a desirable combination of security, lifestyle and convenience.”

Geffen says the Waterfront precinct is also increasingly regarded as an ideal location for retirement, with 33 percent of all recent buyers being over the age of 65 and 52 percent of owners having acquired their properties in the past five years.

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