Expats buoy up City Bowl market

South Africans working in Europe are using their buying power to invest in
South African property - and, in the case of Cape Town, expats are buoying
up sales of inner city property.
City Bowl specialist Marcel Cabano of Homenet Realty 2000 says prices of
sectional title units in refurbished inner-city buildings are stabilising
after the "hype" last year.
"But expats are still showing great interest in these units. For instance,
in the Perspective development in Roeland Street a total of 30 of the
available 174 units were sold to expats. Most of them are investing in
property in the expectation that they will return to the country some day in
the future."
Cabano says upmarket inner-city living is still seen as a novelty locally,
in contrast to world cities such as London and New York where
round-the-clock commercial activity is common.
"With the exception of Sea Point with its late night cafés and clubs, the
center of Cape Town is still pretty quiet after dark and over weekends.
However, several large chainstores have expressed interest in opening shops
in the area and it is expected that smaller shops will follow suit."
Most City Bowl buyers, however, still favour established residential areas
such as Vredehoek, Gardens, Devil's Peak and Oranjezicht over the
refurbished commercial area, with Tamboerskloof ahead of the pack.
The trend is evident in property prices. The so-called "new residential
market" commands prices of between R10 000 and R13 000/sqm for sectional
title units compared to R13 500 to R17 000/sqm in areas such as
Tamboerskloof, Cabano notes.
Besides expats, buyers in the area are typically double-income earners with
no children. "They buy into a lifestyle. Buyers typically work in or near
the city centre and are tired of fighting traffic to get to work each day.

"They are also attracted by the spacious pre-war units that afford them
enough room to create a quiet haven to return to after a day at the office.
Average two-bedroom apartments in the City Bowl offer floor space of about
100sqm and most of the buildings were thoroughly renovated in the 1990s."

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