Strong demand and stock shortages at Century City

Cape Town’s Century City continues to expand its residential offering in the face of high demand for both full title and sectional title homes, as well as rental accommodation. 

This building in Bougain Villas overlooks the waterways of Century City and offers a secure lifestyle. Pam Golding Properties is exclusively marketing an 87sqm two-bedroomed unit at R1.275 million. The apartment has a long-term tenant in place.

The 250ha precinct now offers over 3000 residential units, clustered within 17 different secure developments. Pam Golding Properties (PGP) reports that the rental market is booming, while a number of the secure complexes are achieving notable price growth. PGP agents have sold 21 homes in the area during 2013, to a total value of nearly R30 million. This represents a 150 percent increase on their sales during 2012.

“Century City is now firmly established as a sought-after place to live, work, shop and play,” says PGP’s area principal for the Western Seaboard, Emarie Campbell.  “More than 60 000 people now live and/or work within its boundaries, with its over 700 000sqm of office space equating to the same size business area as the central city. And it continues to expand at pace. Just recently we have seen the announcement of a new premium office building, Bridge Park, as well as a new residential development, Waterberry, which was sold out a week before construction even began. Another new apartment block, Silvertree, has recently been launched to market with an additional 31 units, while a third phase has been launched at the Oasis Luxury Retirement Resort. The Curro private school which opened its doors this year (2013) can barely keep up with demand. In short, this is a thriving precinct which continues to hold high appeal for buyers, especially business people working in the Century City office precinct, and young buyers wanting an affordable foothold in the property market that is conveniently close to transport and entertainment facilities.”

A view of Knightsbridge, one of the most upmarket buildings in Century City, located right next door to Canal Walk shopping centre. Pam Golding Properties has the exclusive mandate to market a duplex penthouse apartment on the bridge section, offering sweeping views across Intaka Island towards the Durbanville Hills. The three-bedroomed unit with luxury finishes offers 144sqm of living space plus a spacious 29sqm balcony. It has access to extensive communal facilities including a heated pool, gym, Jacuzzi and spa. The apartment is priced at R3.795 million.

Prices at Century City vary considerably from complex to complex, with an entry level unit in a development such as Villa Italia or Bougain Villas fetching prices of R1.18 million to R1.3 million for a two-bedroomed apartment or townhouse. Similar properties in more upmarket developments like Knightsbridge or The Island Club can fetch R1.55 million to R1.8 million, while at the top end of the market, a two-bedroomed apartment in the luxurious Crystal Towers can fetch R3.5 million. Campbell says some of the early developments such as Knightsbridge and Island Club have seen price increases of over R2000 per square metre in the past two years, and can now regularly fetch prices of between R25 000 and R35 000 per square metre. “There has also been a spike in the price of freehold and estate houses, due to the high demand for full title housing, coupled with low supply of such properties for sale,” she says. “For example, we have just sold a free-standing two-bedroomed home in Century Place for its full asking price of R1.475 million, within four days of listing the property.”

Demand is high across a number of buyer categories, including young professionals and young families wanting access to a secure lifestyle for their children, close to school and work.  Campbell says complexes such as Villa Italia and Bougain Villas are very appealing to young single professionals, couples and families, due to their security and affordability. “These complexes have access control, 24 hour manned security, foot patrols, intercom systems and video surveillance,” she says, “which offer tremendous peace of mind for parents of young children or those who travel frequently and like to know that their families are safe while they are away. They also offer convenient access to communal facilities such as gyms, heated pools and braai areas, ideal for entertaining friends. Those with a bigger budget enjoy Knightsbridge and Island Club due to their walking-distance proximity to the Canal Walk Shopping Centre.”

Those wishing to rent property at Century City may find it challenging to secure a home – Campbell says the rental market is booming, with excellent returns being achieved on investment properties. “There is currently a huge shortage of stock which is driving rentals upwards,” she says. Rentals typically range from around R8500 per month for a two bedroomed apartment in a building such as Villa Italia, to around R16 000 per month for a two-bedroomed unit in one of the more upmarket townhouse complexes.  At the top end of the rental market, one can expect to pay up to R35 000 per month for a four-bedroomed home in estates such as Waterstone Isles.

Villa Italia is one of the most popular buildings in Century City for young professionals and first-time buyers. Pam Golding Properties has the exclusive mandate to market a lock-up-and-go two-bedroomed apartment measuring 80sqm (including balcony), at R1.25 million.

“These solid rental returns continue to attract a number of investment buyers to Century City,” says Campbell. “Due to the area’s blend of housing, work opportunities and entertainment, there is sustained demand from people working within the precinct, who wish to live close to work to reduce transport costs. There is also steady demand from those working in the central city, who enjoy even easier access now that the new MyCiti bus route has replaced the previous shuttle service, connecting Century City seamlessly to the CBD.”

Besides the convenience of living in a secure environment close to work opportunities, Century City offers a number of other lifestyle benefits, including the more than 400 shops in Canal Walk, the 16ha Intaka Island bird sanctuary, and a number of sports clubs including athletics, canoeing, running and boot camp. A new Natural Goods Market also offers the opportunity to spend a relaxed weekend morning selecting farm-fresh produce and home-made goods.

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