Wynberg offers good value in tough times
Historic suburb doing well as neighbours feel the pinch
The economic downturn which began to tighten its grip in the latter half of last year has now noticeably filtered down to even the most buoyant of Cape Town’s residential markets.
But the silver lining is that market slumps and tightened belts give often-underrated suburbs, like Wynberg, the opportunity to shine.
This is according to Claude McKirby, southern suburbs coprincipal for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, who says value for money underpins the appeal of these areas during tough economic times. “Wynberg’s allure is twofold as it offers excellent value for money in a high value zone where average sale prices in most neighbouring suburbs are considerably higher, as well as a wide variety of property options – from very accessible entry level homes to luxurious modern properties.
“And because of its desirable location close to a number of top class amenities, including some of South Africa’s best schools, Wynberg continues to offer a solid return on investment as homes in this area will always be in demand.”
Matthew Raubach of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says: “In Wynberg it’s still possible to get a foot in the southern suburbs market for well under R1 million with the entry level price being between R500 000 and R800 000 for onebedroom flats, depending on location, condition and lucky timing.
“Investors with bigger budgets have a broad selection from which to choose, with the top end of the sectional title market being just over R2m for a modern, luxurious unit. And, in spite of the current economy, two months ago we sold a renovated two-bedroom flat for R2.1m.”
Raubach says that while the sectional title market hasn’t been completely impervious to the slump with buyers showing increasing reluctance to pay the high prices commanded over the past two years, growing demand from first time investors has counterbalanced the marginal dip in sale prices.
Agent Jennifer Rogers says that although the same caution is being felt in the freehold housing market with properties taking a little longer to sell, correctly priced houses continue to attract interest.
“With patience it’s still possible to find a character twobedroom house for between R1.5m and R2m and a budget of R2.5m to R4m will buy a beautifully renovated home with the higher priced houses being found in popular areas like Chelsea Village.”
Lew Geffen, chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says that although the increasing reluctance of banks to lend money has resulted in a 14 percent drop in mortgage approvals, the flip side for suburbs like Wynberg, which maintain buoyancy, is the increased interest from astute investors who don’t require finance and are able to take advantage of the depressed market and good value they offer.
“In recent months there has been a notable spike in sales to cash buyers with available funds as well as ‘empty nesters’ who are downsizing after the sale of their larger family homes in nearby suburbs.”
Geffen says that although locals still make up the lion’s share of buyers, especially in the lower to middle market, Wynberg’s historical character and charm attract considerable interest from foreign buyers who are often willing to spend more and are keen to authentically restore heritage properties.
McKirby says that Wynberg’s rental market is also enjoying increased activity due to the excellent value and the fact that it offers residents access to all the top end facilities enjoyed by its more expen- sive neighbours, but at a more reasonable price.
“The suburb is an appealing option for families who are feeling the pinch of shrinking monthly budgets and are battling to keep their heads above water but are reluctant to sacrifice their current lifestyles.
“The market is also being spurred by the growing number of potential buyers who fail to qualify for larger bonds and want to remain in the area while they save for bigger deposits.”
They are often motivated by the fact that parents want to ensure their children are accepted into the local schools which is increasingly the main consideration when buyers decide where to invest.
Raubach says while sectional title prices may have levelled off and investor caution has resulted in a slight dip in sales volumes, Propstats data has revealed that the difference between listing and selling prices has continued to shrink in the first half of this year, with only a 1.9 percent difference compared to 5 percent last year and 8.2 percent in 2013.
And though houses have seen a minuscule dip in the average sale price since last year when 40 houses changed hands at an average price of R2.42m, Rogers says sales volumes have remained strong with 19 sales recorded between January and June 16 at an average price of R2.29m.
Rogers believes that demand for property in Wynberg will remain strong, as the area offers a combination of appeal factors in addition to accessible pricing and convenient location. “Wynberg still has a quaint village feel with a proliferation of historical buildings and, at its heart is Chelsea village which has an array of eclectic shops, cafes and restaurants.
This immaculate, renovated three-bedroom heritage home in a quiet cul de sac within walking distance of Chelsea Village is for sale at R5.3 million.