Expected WC rentals fall short
Previously predicted high volumes of 2010 World Cup property rentals for Cape Town have not yet materialised, writes Anna-Marie Smith
THE disappointing number of rentals five weeks before what is supposed to be SA’s busiest June/July holiday period has not come entirely as a surprise to some property professionals.
The industry is by now accustomed to trading amid a depressed economy and only just beginning to show signs of a slow upturn. Not only facing stringent loan credit facilities practiced by banks, it recently had to deal with Match — Fifa’s hospitality partner — giving back 500 000 prebooked bed nights.
Predictions about a year ago were for between 250 000 and 400 000 visitors arriving in the country during this period, and the concern was that only 75 000 beds were available in traditional hotels. At the time SA Tourism predicted a shortfall of approximately 65 000 beds during peak times of the World Cup, which resulted in local homeowners see- ing the opportunity to rent out their homes.
With Cape Town hosting eight matches and three teams staying along the Garden Route, hopes were for a reasonable number of rental bookings required by those commuting between cities hosting matches.
Property professionals are of the opinion that the combination of overpricing, the release of Match’s bed nights, and the strong rand causing SA to no longer be one of the cheapest tourist destinations, may be among the reasons for the low rentals.
Leading estate agents advertise World Cup rental accommodation on websites with daily rentals as high as R140 000 for a Clifton villa, R100 000 for a Bantry Bay home, R70 000 for a Bishopscourt mansion and R65 000 in Constantia. Rentals are up to R25 000 in the City Bowl, up to R15 000 for secure waterfront penthouses, reducing southwards to R3 000 at Steenberg Golf Estate. Daily rates of between R1 500 to R750 for apartment and room rentals in and around the city bowl are also available. For the exclusive R140 000 daily rental, facilities on offer include five bedrooms, five bathrooms, four reception rooms, heated pool with sea views, five garages, glass lift, private cinema, chef and housekeeper Monday to Sunday, luxury cars with drivers, and treatment room with service available on request. A R100 000 per day Bantry Bay rental sleeps 10 people, and includes seven garages, luxury sports car with driver/bodyguard, as well as an 800 litre diesel generator in case of power failures.
Jawitz Properties, who partnered with Canadian-based company iStopOver to enable South African homeowners to access foreign visitors looking for rental accommodation during the World Cup, say actual rental bookings to date have been below expectation, including those of families hosting visitors in their homes for any period during the event.
Jawitz Properties Cape regional manager, Francois Venter, says while the over-supply of properties onto the short-term rental market has been disappointing, “pricing is the key”.
Dexter Leite of Pam Golding Properties rental division says while the company experienced bookings and inquiries at all ends, rental expectations across the board for this period have not been met.
One of the city areas proving popular with foreigners needing secure, luxury accommodation near Green Point Stadium and city amenities, is the V&A Waterfront. Seeff Properties short term rental manager -Charles Bloem says modern apartments and penthouses where 24-hour security is provided, such as at the V&A Waterfront, have proved popular.
Bloem says soccer tourists tend to be price sensitive and that shorter rentals of three to four nights as opposed to two to three weeks are more common.
Agents are now expressing their concerns about a shortage of long-term rentals in the market while there is strong demand.
Credit Bureau TPN’s latest report commented on landlords not renewing leases with current quality tenants, including cancellation in some cases, due to World Cup rental hype. TPN said a surge of rental facilities coming onto the market in August may result in an additional burden on an already oversupplied market.