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PROPERTY: Returning Expats Putting Down Roots in Affluent Neighbourhoods in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs


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Upmarket neighbourhoods such as Constantia, Upper Kenilworth and Upper Claremont in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs are capturing the attention and buying power of returning expatriates who are putting down roots and buying up homes, says Laurie Wener, MD of Pam Golding Properties in the Western Cape Metro Region.

“With an exchange rate favouring their foreign currency and spend, and having established successful careers overseas, they are generally able to afford large properties and capitalise on opportunities to acquire good value for money - and make sound investments in real estate for the future.”

Constantia, with its lush, green gardens and expansive homes offers just that, say Arie Kade and Angie Bloom, Pam Golding Properties agents. “One may be surprised at the excellent value for money here. Considering the generous size of erven and luxury and spaciousness of homes, properties are in fact relatively inexpensive when compared to other upmarket areas – where they would probably stretch your budget by an additional 30 percent. And if you take into account replacement value, if you were to build a luxury house from scratch, it would cost significantly more than to purchase an existing home outright.

“While Constantia is no longer considered somewhat far out, being only seven minutes to Claremont and 20 minutes to the city centre,” says Kade, “the shortage of available homes under R10 million in areas like Upper Claremont and Newlands is prompting buyers to look slightly further afield, further adding to the demand.

“Positive sentiment in the housing market and high demand has created a shortage of stock which is effectively pushing up prices. We are seeing a great deal of activity in the price range from a relatively accessible entry level of R5 million to R10 million, with the R10 million to R15 million price bracket experiencing the highest activity, and some movement around the R20 million mark.”

Bloom says South African buyers, and that includes expats, local buyers and a large and increasing number of Gauteng buyers, look for security and manageable properties set on approximately 1500sqm. “Returning expats, many from the UK, like the feel of Constantia with its open spaces and green belts with horse riding trails in this relatively wind-free area. They can enjoy the outdoor life and pursuits such as horse riding, being surrounded by wine farms, great restaurants, with excellent shopping close by – there’s no need to drive far.” She also notes a growing number of younger buyers moving into the area as well as an influx from Johannesburg and Pretoria, plus a few Italian home buyers.

Commenting on the neighbouring Southern Suburbs areas of Upper Claremont and Upper Kenilworth, PGP agents Myrna Duveen and Christiaan Steytler report that residences in the price bands from R5 million to R7 million are highly sought after, as well as large, modernised homes in the R8 million to R12 million bracket. “There is a huge shortage of stock. We recently listed a home in Upper Kenilworth for R5.5 million and sold it in days. Although the demand is across the board the Upper Kenilworth enclave near Lovers Walk is very popular as well as Highwick Drive, and anywhere in Hen and Chicken Estate in Claremont,” says Duveen.

Seen as secure neighbourhoods, easy access to good schools plays a major role in buyers’ attraction for these suburbs. Properties in Upper Claremont have gardens of varying sizes so the higher priced properties have larger gardens, while the townhouse-type homes are on smaller erven.

“We are also noticing an increase in expats returning from abroad, especially from the UK, and buying in all price ranges. There’s also a growing trend among Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal buyers relocating to the Western Cape and looking to purchase property due to the quality educational institutions and natural, scenic beauty of the area. Upper Claremont is particularly in demand by Johannesburg buyers seeking lock-up-and go townhouses,” adds Duveen.

Says Steytler: “Due to the high demand for housing, as older homes on large plots come onto the market they are snapped up by developers who then redevelop the properties. Homes with land for redevelopment are fetching from R9 million to R30 million, depending on how many units the developer is able to accommodate on the land.”

Home to some original, restored grand homes as well as modernised and rebuilt properties, luxury residences in Upper Kenilworth may achieve over R20 million with family homes priced from around R4.5 million to R14 million in prime residential areas of the suburb and Trovato Estate.

Sharon Ellis, Pam Golding Properties agent operating in the Upper Claremont area between Bowwood Road, Paradise Road and the M3 says the accessibility of this convenient location places it in the sights of family buyers. “Homes are generally spacious, with high ceilings and attractive features.

“This is a prime catchment area for schools and UCT, hence the shortage of stock. Residential property ranges from R4 million for a small three bedroom cottage with a small garden, an average of about R5 million for a three to four bedroom family home and up to R10 million for a luxury, lock-up-and-go home with small garden. These appeal to Gauteng buyers and those scaling down from large properties in other areas. Due to the extreme shortage of stock there is a waiting list of buyers.”

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