PROPERTY: Cape Town the Impossible Dream?
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Don’t despair,’ says Laurie Wener, MD of Pam Golding Properties (PGP) in the Western Cape metro region. “If you’re getting your property agent’s cell number confused with the price of the house you want, it doesn’t mean that Cape Town simply doesn’t offer you a place you can afford.
“The tallest trees get the most breeze, so it’s not surprising that residential properties selling in the many millions bracket are going to be in the news. Every day there seems to be a new record price set for a house in Bishopscourt or a flat in Clifton.
“But, while the place you buy might not make the headlines, there are wonderful houses and apartments for some surprisingly affordable prices, in really nice areas,’ she says. And even today’s sad suburb can very easily be where the folks that matter eventually flock to.”
It’s sometimes a complete mystery why a particular area of a city will suddenly become trendy and hugely in demand, while in other cases, the obvious features of the suburb make it imperative. Nobody argues that the tiny strip of Clifton will always be an international playground. Just a glance at four fabulous beaches and a glamorous cliffside community will tell you why.
“But what makes Camps Bay sexier than Hout Bay, or why did Noordhoek, once a sleepy hippy enclave, suddenly become the choice of millionaires? Then there’s the mystery of Salt River and Woodstock. On the face of it, they didn’t have much to offer and languished for nearly a century before somebody thought it was seriously cool to live in a factory on Sir Lowry Road. Now, everyone wants their piece of the factory floor.”
Be adventurous, Wener suggests. This is Cape Town, where anything can happen and today’s frog is almost certain to become tomorrow’s prince. “Position has become a relative thing.”
Does the reputation that Cape Town has earned as an impossible dream have anything to do with the international celebrity influx to all the finest areas of the city where they snap up mansions for Europennies? No, not really. Obviously people with huge money chase up prices in selected areas, but that happens in any city, while the rest of the market is self-levelling.
And what about the unabated migration of people from Gauteng and the hinterland of KZN to Cape Town? Are they scrumming down with the locals, and paying any price to get the prize property they simply have to have? No, again. Some of them are arriving the Cape with limited funds from the sale of their previous homes. “Not everyone coming from other centres has a huge budget,” says Wener.
And for those looking for prime beef with a soup bones budget, a few comparisons tell an interesting tale.
A R24 million five bedroom Camps Bay villa on 900sqm of land may be totally out of reach, but a beautiful five bedroom Bergvliet house on 784sqm looks very pretty at R4.4 million. The only difference is an ocean view and some seriously fancy finishes.
However, a Panorama house with views from the Tulbagh mountains to Gordon’s Bay, five bedrooms and four reception rooms on a 400sqm floor area, rivals its Camps Bay counterpart in every way for R4.5 million, and offers a lot more living space than the one bedroom west-facing Camps Bay flat currently on sale for R4.5 million.
That’s also the price of a double-storey six bedroom, four bathroom house in Fish Hoek, with an ocean view, pool, decks on all sides and a 300sqm floor area. A three-bedroom Fish Hoek apartment on the beach is on the market for just over half the price at R2.7 million.
Plumstead has some nice surprises too, with a ‘designer home with edgy and exciting architecture’, four bedrooms and three bathrooms, for R3.3 million.
If the budget is even lower, there are places to the north of the city that hover round the R1.something million mark.
“So, all you might need to do is compromise on your first choice a little,” says Wener.
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