Resilience the hallmark of Rondebosch’s sought-after “academic belt” market

Rondebosch in the heart of the Southern Suburbs academic belt continues to be bolstered by the semigrant market seeking family homes in the catchment area of many of Cape Town’s best schools.

Situated on a corner plot and nestled amongst beautiful old trees, this spacious house has four bedrooms as well as a self-contained flatlet with its own garden and parking. Priced at R3.65 million, buyers can move right in and enjoy “olde worlde charm” or renovate to create their dream home.
Lesley Payne, Area Specialist in Rondebosch for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty explains: “Cape Town’s seemingly irrepressible residential market has been marching to its own drum for several years, with scant acknowledgement of the economic downturn that began to impact the national economy early in 2015.
“Underpinned by strong local governance and an appealing lifestyle and fuelled by the steady influx of upcountry investors, the market has been enjoying double digit growth almost double the national average.
“However, the backlash of the progressively subdued Gauteng market coupled with increasingly cash-strapped consumers has finally begun to trickle down to the Western Cape where the deceleration of semigration is expected to make a significant dent in the local market as the year progresses.”
As part of the Southern Suburbs academic belt, Rondebosch and its immediate neighbours are still buffered from the brunt of the downturn because of their proximity to schools such as Rustenberg, Rondebosch Boys, Bishops, Forres and Oakhurst as well as the University of Cape Town where student numbers have increased exponentially with demand suitable accommodation at a premium.
Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says that while market growth has started to slow in many areas, Lightstone data clearly reveals that Rondebosch is robust market, especially in the sectional title sector where parents are scrabbling for student accommodation.
“In the 12 months from January to December 2016, there were 131 apartment sales at an average sale price of R1.66 million, however the 24 transactions in the last quarter realised an average unit sale price of R1.72m.
“Lightstone also reflects a healthy 16.9% increase in the median price of apartments, which rose from R1.3m at the end of 2015 to R1.52m by the end of last year.
“In the freehold sector, sales volumes have remained constant with 139 houses changing hands in 2016 and the median price rose 12.5% from R3.6m at the end of 2015 to R4.05m at the end of 2016.”
Payne says: “We are currently experiencing severe stock shortages in the entry level and mid-market sectors where properties are snapped up soon after coming onto the market. In fact, we recently received over 300 enquiries for a R3.6m house in Rondebosch, that was sold within a week.
“There is also ongoing development in the area and we are currently marketing a new development on the corner of Mariendahl and Campground Road which is due for completion in December.
“Comprising just three upmarket north-facing units, each with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, double garages and mountain views, prices start at R5 995 000, including VAT. Conveniently situated near schools, the Cricket Club and a host of other amenities, we don’t expect these exceptional properties to remain on the market for very long.”
However, Geffen cautions that this bubble cannot be sustained indefinitely and that the market in this currently buoyant pocket will stabilise later this year as Gauteng buyers begin to dwindle,
“The market in many areas in Johannesburg has flat-lined, which has not only significantly impacted property values but also the length time homes spend on the market, with some sellers really struggling to find buyers.”
“Therefore, Capetonians who thinking of selling, especially empty nesters and retirees looking to downsize, should do so sooner rather than later to maximise their return on investment and realise their anticipated retirement funds.”
Payne says when the market slows it’s down to the expertise of the real estate sales team to ensure that sellers realise sales prices that are as close as possible to asking prices.
“The Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty team in Rondebosch has recently had a shake-up that will only be good for the market in the year ahead. Former Greeff Properties Head of Marketing and digital strategist Graham Knoop will bring innovation to my 27 years of industry experience and together we’ll be able to offer the best of both traditional and online marketing to all our clients.
“Another asset to the team is distinguished former PA to the renowned Pearl Sparks, Debbie Priessnitz, who brings more than 18 years’ experience of the Rondebosch market to the table.  This synergy is critical when the market slows, and will help to bring the right buyers and sellers together more quickly.”

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