Words: Kit Heathcock
The reality check that has hit Cape Town’s property market over the last year of tougher economic times doesn’t seem to have impacted the pace of development in the Mother City. While traditional homes might be taking longer to sell this year than in previous years, developers are finding that certain types of new developments are bucking the trend with demand as high as ever.
Ever-increasing traffic congestion and sky-rocketing petrol prices have lessened the appeal of the dormitory suburb. Instead the mixed-use development is on the rise, integrating residential, retail and commercial property, connected by safe walkable public spaces. People want to live closer to their work, and such developments in central areas such as the Foreshore and the Atlantic Seaboard mirror international trends. “Many millennials are opting for this kind of inner-city living,” says Nicholas Stopforth, MD, Amdec Property Development, “choosing apartment living over free-standing homes in the suburbs, with a variety of mod cons and pedestrian access to everything they need within a relatively small area.”
The Amdec Group’s latest development, Harbour Arch, starts construction early next year in the CBD and has only 19 residential units remaining. Modelled after the developer’s Melrose Arch in Joburg, it integrates green building initiatives and includes public space, retail, restaurants and services in the precinct. Amdec’s Yacht Club mixed-use development of apartments and offices at the gateway to the V&A Waterfront, launched in 2016 and recently completed, brought residential investors a 50% capital growth by the time they took possession.
Century City is a prime example of a successful mixed-use development that continues to grow apace. Its developers, Rabie, will soon launch the latest phase as part of the huge Ratanga redevelopment: the Standard will include a hotel, restaurants, residential apartments and offices with construction starting early next year.
A development that makes country rather than urban living its focus, is award-winning Sitari outside Somerset West. The secure lifestyle estate encompasses olive groves, orchards, wetlands and green belts, with shops, restaurants, a medical centre and a Curro private school part of the development. It’s also conveniently located near the N2 for easy access to Cape Town and the international airport.
With a population that is living longer, demand far outstrips supply in retirement developments, so there’s plenty of room for growth. Rabie is currently launching a new brand, Oasis Life, with three new retirement villages planned, all based on the life-right model, one in Century City, and one each in Rabie’s other two mixed-use developments – Burgundy Estate and Clara Anna Fontein outside Durbanville.
Evergreen Lifestyle recently launched Phase 2 of their Noordhoek retirement village, with 35 houses added on a life-right basis and planning for the lifestyle centre going ahead. Buh-Rein Estate, developed by Multi Spectrum Properties in the Northern Suburbs, has just launched their retirement village with at least 470 sectional-title units planned. MSP’s Zevenwacht Lifestyle Estate, adjoining the wine estate of the same name, offers a full range of retirement options, from independent houses to assisted living and frail care.
Launched in 2017, De Plattekloof Lifestyle Estate developed by Arun Lifestyle, has completed their care centre, assisted living and independent living apartments. Construction of Phase 2, including luxury homes and further apartments, is well underway. It’s enviable position with views over the city to Table Mountain and top-quality planning and design, recently won accolades at the Arabia & Africa Property Awards in Dubai.
The escalation of house prices way ahead of salary growth has made it harder than ever for first-time buyers and young professionals to get a foot in the door of the property market. This has led to a new trend in urban developments: they may be entry-level in size but the new generation of micro-apartments are high-end in finishes and facilities. Evolution Properties’ The Pinnacle in the CBD has a communal roof-top swimming pool, gym, shared office space, Wi-Fi and hot desks; its Urban Artisan in Woodstock has oak floors, communal rooftop, fibre and secure parking. “Millennials are looking for location over square footage. They want to be close to the city centre, close enough to walk, bike, or rely on public transportation.” says Rob Stefanutto, Dogon Group Properties, of their latest project in collaboration with AJ Developers, Power Construction and Gardner Property Solutions. 1 on Albert in Woodstock will have luxury finishes with Smeg appliances, fibre, communal spaces and a heated swimming pool when completed in April 2020. “It’s the answer both to first-time buyers looking to get their foot in the door, and seasoned property investors looking to expand their portfolios,” he concludes.
Niche developments in well-established communities continue to appeal, the location being all-important. Balwin’s award-winning Paardevlei Square has a stunning setting overlooking the beautiful vlei within the historic core of the Paardevlei. Built around a landscaped square with a communal swimming pool, it has all the amenities of Somerset West close by. MSP’s Olive Close takes advantage of the small-town friendly atmosphere of Malmesbury. A secure, pet-friendly residential estate, on completion of the current upgrades to the N7, it will be only 30 minutes from Cape Town. And within the City Bowl itself Horizon Capital have just launched The Aster, a four-storey apartment building in Oranjezicht with a communal pool, braai deck, mountain views and penthouses with private rooftop pools, putting residents in the heart of this leafy neighbourhood close to the trendy vibe of Kloof Street.
I think the safety and security is the most fundamentally important feature of these developments. The other thing that’s beyond beneficial about mixed-use living is the convenience of day-to-day living. I’ve made the “live, work, and play” mantra 100% my lifestyle.
Nicholas Stopforth, Amdec Property Development
See for yourself:
Developers are seeing an increased demand for pre-furnished apartments in high-end developments. Local and international investors want a hassle-free experience that includes top-notch security, quality interior design and furnishings and everything down to high-speed internet finished and ready to rent to corporate and professionals with a lock-up and go lifestyle.
With Day Zero consciousness now a reality, forward-thinking developers are incorporating water-wise features such as rainwater harvesting, grey-water recycling, solar technology into new developments. The next step is “smart cities”, with all modern technologies integrated, from electric car charging to licence plate recognition, fibre internet and more.