Energy and water self-sufficiency are increasingly important factors in home buyers’ choice of property – especially in Cape Town where the extreme drought of the past few years has made municipal supply costly as well as uncertain.
“This preference is particularly pronounced at the upper-end of the market, where we find buyers are now specifically looking for homes that have rainwater storage tanks, grey-water systems and water-saving devices installed as well as equipment like solar geysers and heat pumps,” says Devin de Moyland, Camps Bay area specialist for Chas Everitt International.
“Such buyers are also not too keen to make use of the ‘bulk water suppliers’ who have been trucking water in to Cape Town residents determined to fill their pools or water their gardens despite the city’s strict water restrictions. They are consequently also seeking out upmarket homes where the owners have already exchanged lawns and flowerbeds for low-maintenance and water-friendly gravel beds, succulents and indigenous trees.”
Chas Everitt International currently has several Luxury Portfolio® listings that meet these new water-conscious criteria, he says, including a six-bedroom, five-bathroom home in Camps Bay’s Argyle Street which is very low-maintenance with tiled and paved outdoor entertainment areas, a small pool and a new 5000lt rainwater storage tank discreetly fitted at the back of the house.
“On sale for R15,8m, this home is just 150m from the beach, north-facing and also has multiple tiled living areas with a great flow for entertaining. Although it has three garages and off-street parking for another six vehicles, it is within walking distance to most local attractions and would thus be a good buy either as a private holiday residence or an investment.”
A second property located in Woodhead Close, he notes, is equipped with two water storage tanks of 10 000lt each which were installed in a service basement during construction so as not to be unsightly. It also has solar power.
“This multi-level home is on sale for R25,995m and also offers spectacular mountain and sea views. It has six bedrooms, five of which are ensuite and three of which also have their own kitchens. It also has several living, dining and entertainment areas; air conditioning and underfloor heating; a three-car garage; a pool and a hot tub; a top-grade security system and its own elevator.”
Chas Everitt International group CEO Berry Everitt says that while most Capetonians have come to terms with the water restrictions for now, the mounting cost of municipal water and ongoing uncertainties surrounding the management of the city’s water supplies continue to be a concern for both local and international home buyers, especially in the luxury sector.
“So it’s fortunate that the options for achieving more self-sufficiency in water supply are readily available and practical. Water storage tanks and water-saving devices such as low-flow taps and showers, for example, are also relatively inexpensive and we recommend that home owners install them without delay. The tanks will hopefully fill with rainwater during the coming winter season and their presence could make all the difference to a prospective buyer.”