'Holy Grails' of Clifton property go under the hammer

With the exclusive Atlantic Seaboard suburb of Clifton at an expansion standstill, buyers are increasingly driven to secure the last of the luxury enclave’s holy grails – one of less than a handful of remaining undeveloped private plots, or an equally rare direct beach access ocean-level bungalow that offers the best of “see and be seen” indulgent indoor-outdoor living.

Joff van Reenen, Director and Lead Auctioneer of High Street Auctions, says there is almost no vacant land left in Clifton as a whole, but next month the company will be auctioning the second plot in less than a year on behalf of private sellers.

“At our auction in September 2019 a Cape Town buyer paid R20.35 million for one of the last undeveloped residential stands in Clifton – that one a spectacular bungalow site below Victoria Road overlooking 4th Beach.

“At 455m² this more elevated stand on sale in next month’s virtual live-stream auction is slightly larger than the 417m² plot that went under the hammer last year. Situated on the Apostles Stairs with sweeping views over the Atlantic Ocean, it’s also just a short stroll to Clifton’s wind-free beaches and offers buyers the opportunity to design their dream home from scratch with every nook and fixture, fitting and gadget shaped around their desires and needs.

“We’re already fielding inquiries about this site from international buyers in several countries. With the rand having depreciated 22.9% against the US dollar since January, according to the Reserve Bank, international buyers are effectively purchasing at massively discounted rates at the moment paying in forex.”

Van Reenen says June will also see the auction of another of Clifton’s most sought-after niche property types – and ones that come to market almost as rarely as vacant land in the suburb – bungalows with direct beach access.

“Facing onto the famous 3rd beach in Clifton, the bungalow we’re auctioning next month has uninterrupted views of the sea and is just a step away from the sand.

“This is one of only seven bungalows that have direct beach access,” he notes.

Van Reenen says the large private outdoor entertainment area boasts a jacuzzi, as well as a combined bar and kitchen.

“One can relax in a lounger on the expansive jacuzzi deck while sipping sundowners and watching the waves breaking gently on the shore, cooling down intermittently with short walks across the sand to dip in the ocean.”

The auctioneer says the bungalow is well decorated with quality floors and finishes, and all rooms feature large windows to make the most of the spectacular views.

“There are two ocean-facing en-suite bedrooms with sliding doors and a well-appointed kitchen leads to an open plan living space and TV room. It’s a comfortable, relaxed home very conducive to family living.”

Van Reenen says a massive bonus for such a stringently regulated zoning area is that plans have been approved by the city council for the property to be extended onto the deck and for the height to be increased. The approved plans also include a swimming pool.

Like High Street’s May auction, the June 9th sale will be a virtual live-stream auction in which all bidding will be done via digital channels including mobile app input and Zoom, off the back of high-tech, detailed 3D virtual property tours buyers can do in advance.

One of the company’s digital investments and a South African auction first is showcasing every seller’s property – whether residential, commercial or industrial – in a full 3D, 360-degree virtual walkthrough format on the High Street Auctions website, giving potential buyers the opportunity to examine walls, floors, ceilings and fixtures at their leisure from the comfort of their homes or offices.

“Our website traffic numbers are through the roof with thousands of visitors taking virtual tours of the properties we’ve just auctioned, as well as those going under the hammer in the next live stream virtual sale on Tuesday the 9th June,” says Van Reenen.

He notes that there was no difference in numbers between bidder registration and attendance at previous live auctions and for May’s first fully digital virtual auction, in which numbers were high. Those bidding in this virtual sale hailed from the US, the UK, and across South Africa from Cape Town to Gauteng, KZN to Limpopo.

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