Devel­op­ment spurring the Gar­dens, Devil’s Peak mar­kets

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

PROP­ERTY val­ues in the City Bowl have in­creased sub­stan­tially in re­cent years, with the mar­ket’s un­wa­ver­ing up­ward tra­jec­tory plac­ing most of the pre­vi­ously af­ford­able sub­urbs be­yond the reach of many home-seek­ers.

How­ever, there are still nodes that of­fer as­tute in­vestors good value and rea­son­ably ac­ces­si­ble prices, af­ford­ing them a foot on the lad­der of an in­creas­ingly up­per-end mar­ket.

This is ac­cord­ing to Tina Katz of Lew Gef­fen Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty, but she cau­tions that while the more ac­ces­si­ble sub­urbs like Gar­dens and Devil’s Peak still re­ward pa­tient buy­ers with af­ford­able in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, the time to buy is sooner rather than later.

“The re­siliently buoy­ant mar­ket in this sought-af­ter pocket of prime real es­tate is un­likely to abate soon as it con­tin­ues to be driven by spi­ralling de­mand which is spurred by up­coun­try buy­ers and un­der­pinned by the ex­ten­sive on­go­ing devel­op­ment in the CBD.”

Devil’s Peak may be tucked away at the fur­thest edge of the City Bowl, modestly de­void of op­u­lent man­sions, but it en­joys an el­e­vated prime po­si­tion on the slopes of Ta­ble Moun­tain that af­fords most homes spec­tac­u­lar city and har­bour views.

And, as it com­prises 87 per- cent sec­tional ti­tle prop­er­ties and 13 per­cent free­hold homes, the sub­urb of­fers more ac­ces­si­blypriced prop­er­ties than most other sub­urbs in the City Bowl.

How­ever, Katz says that while av­er­age sale prices in the most sought-af­ter sub­urbs like Tam­boer­skloof have dou­bled since 2010, the gap be­tween the av­er­age sale prices in Devil’s Peak and its more ex­pen­sive neigh­bours is clos­ing quickly.

“In 2012 the av­er­age sale price of an apart­ment in Devil’s Peak was R1.35 mil­lion and by the end of 2014 it had in­creased to R2.26m. At the end of Au­gust this year the av­er­age apart­ment price had risen to R2.47m.”

Katz says the sub­urb’s grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity is most ev­i­dent in the small hous­ing mar­ket where de­mand now out­weighs sup­ply.

“The av­er­age house price in­creased from R3.23m in 2012 to R4.13m by the end of 2014 but Light­stone data re­veals there have been no house sales at all since Au­gust last year, as there sim­ply isn’t enough stock be­cause own­ers are hang­ing on to their in­vest­ments.”

Claude Van­der­straeten, part­ner to Katz, says that although there are more free­hold prop­er­ties in Gar­dens (33 per­cent), the num­ber of house sales has also de­creased an­nu­ally, from 21 trans­ac­tions in 2011 to just eight sales in the past 12 months end­ing in Au­gust.

“While the drop in sales vol­umes can be at­trib­uted to the dearth of avail­able stock, this is not only due to the surg­ing de­mand.

The de­clin­ing stock level has been ex­ac­er­bated by the grow­ing num­ber of houses that are be­ing re­zoned and con­verted to busi­ness premises.”

Lew Gef­fen, chair­man of Lew Gef­fen Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty says that Gar­dens and Dev­ils Peak’s strength­en­ing mar­kets are be­ing driven by their pre­dom­i­nant sec­tional ti­tle mar­kets.

“As the City Bowl is nes­tled be­tween the city and the moun­tain, there is very lit­tle va­cant land in the area, so de­vel­op­ers have to wait un­til homes with suit­able sized stands come on to the mar­ket.

But as two ad­ja­cent stands are fre­quently re­quired, they of­ten need to make neigh­bour­ing home own­ers a con­vinc­ing of­fer to sell.

“More buy­ers are now also in­vest­ing in houses that ei­ther have GR4 zon­ing or are try­ing to change the zon­ing spec­i­fi­ca­tion as com­mer­cial rentals com­mand a high monthly re­turn.”

Katz says these sub­urbs are in­creas­ingly at­tract­ing younger buy­ers who en­joy a syn­ergy of vi­brant city life­style in a sub­ur­ban at­mos­phere.

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