Appealing outdoor living spaces now topping buyer wish lists

Rampant urban densification in recent years has precipitated several significant market shifts, including the growing prevalence of more compact, low maintenance homes on smaller erven.  However, although people are willing to forego the additional space, few are willing to sacrifice outdoor living altogether.

This is according to Nina Smith and Cyndy Minnaar, Newlands Area Specialists for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International, who say that many people are very happy to trade expansive outdoor spaces and lush gardens for convenience and security, but expect an appealing compact outdoor living area in return.

“As cities densify and homes become smaller, the importance of creating an outdoor area with dual purpose as an additional living space increases and these days buyers want the outside environment of a home to be as useful and comfortable as the interior.

“The old adage of quality over quantity definitely applies and what’s become more important than size is the layout, aesthetic appeal and the flow between the interior and exterior living areas, with glass sliding doors and expansive folding doors being very popular features.”

Smith and Minnaar add that many people now regard outdoor lighting as a feature rather than a simple necessity and increasingly water conscious buyers appreciate indigenous plants, especially as they are perennial.

Claude McKirby, Southern Suburbs Co-Principal for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says: “Long gone are the days when patios and gardens were merely an afterthought; spaces which seldom received the same attention as the inside of a home.

“Today, a well-designed outdoor living area with quality finishes that blends seamlessly with the rest of the property’s design and functionality, with the same attention to detail, will not only increase living space, it will also value to the property.

Brendan O'Brien, Chairman of the Urban Space Property Group, a forerunner in the conceptualisation and development of contemporary urban homes in Cape Town, says that the growing emphasis on the importance of outdoor areas is clearly evidenced when one looks at the prevailing real estate trends.

“Interiors have always dominated trend forecasts, with scant mention of exterior spaces beyond the latest patio furniture. However, we have seen a significant shift over the past decade and these areas are now often near the top of buyers wish lists, even more so when homes are more compact on smaller erven.  Concepts like living walls, sunken patios, creative terraces and designer pergolas are now becoming the norm rather than the exception.”

Established in 2003 and responsible for numerous exclusive estates like Hoogeind in Upper Claremont, The Mews in Newlands and Broughton Place in Constantia, the Urban Space team understands the importance of creating inviting outdoor living areas that are an extension of the home.

In their latest development, Cavendish Mews, they have taken the concept a step further with the addition of rooftop terraces in six of the 12 freehold units, an innovative first in the local residential development niche.

Smith and Minnaar say that the stunning outdoor 109m² entertainment spaces tick all the boxes for outdoor-loving Capetonians.

“These unique terraces definitely raise the bar by more than a few notches, with spectacular mountain views, natural stone tiling, raised plunge pools set in hardwood decks, built in stainless steel gas braais and designer pergolas for comfortable outdoor dining.”

In all the units, the beautifully appointed open plan living areas open up completely to landscaped private courtyards through floor-to-ceiling sliding doors.

Although only due for launch off-plan on 5 November, three of the units have already been snapped up. Priced from R7 495 000 plus VAT (no transfer duty), Cavendish Mews is jointly marketed by Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty and Upton Properties.

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