Cape Town's building boom means there are now at least 40 residential
developments to choose from in the city centre alone. More and more
people are discovering the benefits of CBD living and, according to LIFE
Residential co-MD Richard Boxford, there is much future developers can
learn from the choices buyers and tenants make. "With values ranging
from R14 000 to R32 000 per square metre, there is something for every
one in the inner city. But, no matter what their budgets, there are some
features that are in demand from potential investors across the board",
First on the list, says Richard, is some balcony space. "Inner-city
residents like some outside space of at least six to 10 square metres.
In our sunny climate, it's essential to include balconies." If it's an
old commercial building that can't take the strain of external
alterations, Richard's advice is to install Juliet balconies - railed
off sliding doors - in the living area and master bedroom.
Next up is views. "Cape Town has beautiful scenery, so try to ensure
that your development has mountain, sea or cityscape views. No one
really wants to look out at a blank wall", says Richard. This may not be
possible with lower-down apartments, so consider converting those floors
to undercover parking or utility rooms if the plans allow this.
"Thirdly, consider offering 'lifestyle facilities', like a gym, laundry
service, a swimming pool or a concierge service as these are all
extremely popular", advises Richard. "People love the idea of being able
to do everything they need to do 'on-site'".
Few developers will need reminding that secure parking is still a big
draw card. "Try to ensure that there is internal access from the parking
lot to the apartments. There must be 24-hour, on-site security," he
says. Every apartment should have at least one dedicated bay, preferably
Lastly, it pays to invest in soundproofing your building as far as
possible. "While potential buyers like the distant hum of the city's
comings and goings, there will be times when they need to be able to
shut it out." Factor in double-glazing street-facing windows to your
budget from the very start.
Of course, it still goes without saying that buyers look first and
foremost for quality and value-for-money. But once those two boxes are
ticked, developers need to ensure that they have other features that are
attractive to potential buyers. "Well-priced, good quality,
value-for-rand-per-square-metre units sell. Prospective buyers and
tenants are really doing their homework and will compare apartment
blocks before making their final decision. Make sure yours fits the bill
and meets their expectations," concludes Richard.