City living revolution now a way of life

More and more people are realising the benefits of living in the central city, according to Mick Joyce, managing director of Pam Golding Properties' Western Cape metro region, who was speaking at the September 1 opening of the recently converted Mutual Heights apartment building in Cape Town's city centre.


The building was formerly the headquarters of Old Mutual.

"When the apartments at Mutual Heights first came onto the market two years ago, it heralded the start of a quiet revolution - namely the trend towards central city living in Cape Town, brought about by the rejuvenation and redevelopment of magnificent buildings such as this," said Joyce.

Over the past 24 months PGP agents have sold some R460 million in development units in the central area.  

After the significant interest and success experienced at Mutual Heights, developments like Cartwright's Corner, Mandela Rhodes Place, Perspectives and 34 St George's have followed suit with rapid sell-outs, and are now starting to see healthy re-sales. To date, about 40 re-sales have taken place at this Art Deco classic building, Mutual Heights. The interest in the area continues as new developments such as Fountain Suites, come onto the market and the retail and lifestyle components are completed."

Central city living is now being perceived as stylish and fashionable, providing instant access to a wide variety of lifestyle attractions. The availability of top restaurants, clubs, coffee bars, gyms, cultural and historic attractions and being able to walk to work - or to the V&A Waterfront - not to mention the exceptional views of the mountain and sea are proving irresistible to people.


As the rejuvenation of the central city progresses, more and more of these attractions will become evident, including the redevelopment of historical landmarks into chic and trendy hotels. While a buzzing daytime café culture is already evident among the residents, it is only a matter of time before the CBD business-owners realise the potential in providing more night-time entertainment opportunities for local residents, ensuring that the cosmopolitan vibe continues later into the night.

Added Joyce: "While originally there were concerns that too many central city buyers would be speculators, we have found that the large majority of buyers are resident in the apartments, as are most of the re-sale purchasers. Buyers represent a variety of people, from young professionals wanting to live and enjoy recreation and leisure close to work, to young married couples getting started in the property market and single people wanting a secure and private residence which is situated within a vibrant community environment."

There are now close to 3 000 development units in the Cape Town central city, and they are starting to pay dividends for those who bought two years ago for investment purposes. The first re-sales at Mutual Heights - 30 of the 170 units, have seen an average return of 30 to 40 percent on the purchase price.  Those who did buy for rental income have generally tenanted their apartments within two to three months of completion, but the rental market remains a small percentage overall. 

More than R12 billion has been invested in the Cape Town CBD since the year 2000, and the resulting upsurge in confidence in the area is having positive spin-offs for local businesses, which are reaping the benefits of having a sustainable residential market in an area which was previously deserted after 5pm as city workers went home to the suburbs.


Another spin-off is that the rejuvenation of the city centre is already boosting interest in - and values of - residential properties around its fringes, and further stimulating demand for homes in those areas. This augurs well for the future of the city centre as a major attraction to residents and visitors.

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