Consider the pros and cons of the deal before investing in an historic home
CAPE Town is the oldest city in South Africa and the architecture is a testament to its many and varied influences.
Buyers in search of a home reflecting a past era can choose from thatched and gabled Cape Dutch houses to the central city’s ornate, organic forms of Art Nouveau and the stark, geometric lines of the Modernist Movement.
Whether you buy a renovated home or one still in need of some love and care, the romance and emotional pull of an older home holds enormous appeal for many, says Richard Day, Pam Golding Properties’ national general manager.
However, he says potential investors should do their research to ensure they are fully informed of the possible property requirements – from council paperwork to specialist building contractors.
Many historic homes were built in prime central locations, or close to attractive natural features such as rivers and mountain backdrops. They may still occupy significantly larger erfs and have more and larger rooms than the average modern home. They also tend to be well-built structures, with thick walls, wooden floors and old-school attention to detail and craftsmanship.
“It is often such features, and the fact that they form part of a well- maintained, renovated historic property, that may command premium prices, rather than any intrinsic heritage value or significance,” says Day.
“An ill-maintained historic property, or with insensitive renovations, can often fetch a lower price than an equivalent modern home, given the cost of restoring it to its former glory.
“Buyers who dream of renovating old homes should also be aware that they cannot just move in and start building. Although such projects can be rewarding and achieve outstanding results, many aspects are carefully controlled by heritage authorities.”
In South Africa, all structures over 60 years old – including their fixtures and fittings – are protected in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act, 25 of 1999. All properties in a conservation area or heritage area are also protected. Entire areas of Cape Town are demarcated as being of broader heritage value, for example Wynberg Village, Observatory, Little Mowbray, St James and the city centre.
One of the prime Cape Town neighbourhood for historic homes, says Pam Golding Properties agent Sue Rosenberg, is the area between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay. Many Randlord mining magnates built their holiday mansions along this coastline.
“Main Road between Muizenberg and Fish Hoek is undergoing major rehabilitation. Although traffic congestion during the extensive rehabilitation may cause commuters headaches at present, the project promises to deliver attractive sidewalks on both sides of Main Road, and parking facilities on the sea-facing side. This project, which is due for completion in October 2017, has been the catalyst for many of the abutting private properties being upgraded or redeveloped.”
Rosenberg says this area appeals to all ages, from retired people to families with young children. Many buyers have moved to Cape Town from upcountry and want easy seaside access. The proximity of local schools such as Sun Valley Primary, Star of the Sea Convent, Fish Hoek Junior and High School and Reddam House, makes the area a consideration for families with school-going children too.
“Before taking on an historical property, make sure that it is generally suitable for your requirements,” says Day.
“Sometimes people buy buildings because of their historical charm, only to completely alter them or remove all patina or sense of history. Find a house you like, and consider its pros and cons objectively, as well as emotionally. The more logically you approach buying the house, the more you’re going to love living in it.”
This historical landmark home in Oranjezicht is for sale at R29.995 million.