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It’s been 10 years since the 'rebirth' of Cape Town’s Central City as a residential zone got underway. And although the historic facades of the area may have remained largely unchanged — albeit cleaned up — the profile of buyers has certainly shifted.

"When the residential revamp started," says Laurie Wener, Pam Golding Properties MD for the Western Cape metro region, "more than 60 percent of buyers in the area were investors. Today there are far more owner-residents who enjoy the hip cosmopolitan lifestyle on offer and who have realised that the city is a safe, convenient and affordable place to live. It is also hugely popular with holidaymakers and visiting businesspeople, creating a vibrant rental market which is particularly active amid current market conditions."

Work and play close to home

The Central City now boasts dozens of residential buildings with the most popular being Cartwright’s Corner, The Adderley, Mutual Heights and The Decks, says PGP’s area manager for the Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl, Basil Moraitis. "These buildings continue to attract a lot of interest from businesspeople working in the city who want to live close to work — even within walking distance — to avoid traffic congestion and commuting costs. As the area’s nightlife has improved it has also attracted a younger buyer with lots of single people just starting out in their professional careers or young couples just settling down who have not yet had children, all of whom want to live in an area where they can work and play in close proximity to home."

Moraitis adds that prices in the Central City have dropped some 15 percent from the all-time highs they enjoyed a few years ago and that the lower end of the market is enjoying the highest activity levels at present. "We’ve found that sellers are becoming more acquainted with market values in the current turbulent market," says Moraitis, "so we are seeing less of a problem of over-priced units staying on the market for months on end. At the same time, those who are feeling the weight of financial pressure are weighing up whether to sell immediately at a price the market will bear or wait it out until the market turns at some unknown point in the future. Regardless of these factors, we have continued to see steady sales in the Central City in recent months. Some of our recent sales have included four one-bedroom units at Cartwright’s Corner, sold for between R910 000 and R1.4-million, as well as a R2.4-million sale for a two-bed apartment in Metropolis and R1.95-million for a two-bedroom unit in Quayside. There are also more affordable options out there for first-time buyers — for example, we recently sold a one-bedroom unit in Mutual Heights for a very reasonable R710 000."

Rental market extremely busy

PGP’s Western Cape Rentals Director, Dexter Leite, adds that the rental market is currently extremely busy in the Central City. "Cartwright’s Corner in particular is very popular for short-term lets", says Leite, "enjoying a typical daily rental occupancy of some 50 percent per annum. We see a lot of short-term lets of one to four months to corporate clients, especially in winter. In buildings like this one, with its high quality apartments, security and numerous communal facilities, rentals of up to R9000 per month can be achieved for one-bedroom apartments and up to R12 000 per month for two-bedroom units. Longer-term rentals, usually concluded on an annual basis, tend to attract up to R8000 per month for a two-bedroom apartment or R6000 per month for a single bed unit."

There is of course great excitement about the upcoming Soccer World Cup and the rental opportunities this will create in the Central City, which lies less than three kilometres from the new stadium. "The Central City lies within the main soccer fan-zone," says Moraitis, "so it is going to form an absolutely integral part of the festivities. With all its hotels as well as the numerous rental options, it is the ideal place for soccer fans to set up their base. Another important factor is the city’s new Integrated Rapid Transport System, which is finally underway, with priority given to linkages from outlying areas into the Central City. This will make the area even more appealing for those who want to explore the rest of the city and its surrounding regions in between watching the matches."


Article by: Iafrica