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

Business Day - Home Front - - HOMEFRONT -

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.

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