Camps Bay attracts the Young and Cash-rich

November 2, 2015

With its excellent 60/40 mix of freehold and sectional title homes and apartments, Camps Bay property remains popular despite the overall slowing in the economy and housing market. With the average sales price for the suburb now some R1.5 million more than last year, buyers continue signalling their confidence in property in this area

This is according to Ian Slot, Seeff’s managing director for the Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl, who says the rental market is seeing ever higher rates being paid for a home in the suburb as well, with luxury villas now fetching anything upwards of R50 000 to R150 000 per month.

Slot says the property market in this area is now delivering a stellar performance for sellers. The demand for property has never been higher. Based on this year’s sales, as recorded by Propstats, Camps Bay now boasts an average sales price of almost R10 million, some R1.5 million, or about 20%, more than last year’s R8.4 million.

In under five years, the average house price for the suburb has increased from around R6.5 million, over 50%, or some R3.5 million, more. Where you could still find plenty to buy below the R5 million price mark, less than 20% of sales now fall under this mark, and these are all apartments. You will now be hard pressed to find a freehold house for under this mark, he says.

While the excellent performance of the market is clearly reflective of its Blue Chip status, Camps Bay still offers more for your money compared to the neighbouring Clifton, Bantry Bay, Fresnaye, and even the Waterfront. This has driven buyers looking to get a strong foothold on the Atlantic Seaboard to Camps Bay, resulting in both the number of properties sold and the value doubling from five years ago.

It is also not the traditionally older buyers, but younger, cash-rich buyers who have driven much of the activity. More than 60% of the R1.5 billion in sales since the start of last year has come from younger buyers, about 80% of these being cash deals.

While most are locals from within the Cape metro, they have come from as far afield as KwaZulu-Natal and especially Gauteng, mostly Johannesburgers, investing in holiday, retirement and investment homes. Many, though, are semi-grants relocating to the city permanently.

Since the start of 2014, a total of 174 properties worth just over R1.5 billion have sold in the suburb. According to Seeff’s two teams of agents who have sold over R700 million in real estate over this period, activity remains buoyant and better than five years ago.

For example, agents Pola and Nadine Jocum recently sold 8 properties in one month. “While we were selling about three houses on average each month last year, this year has been a bit slower overall, largely due to a shortage of houses and apartments available for sale.”

Freehold houses remain the biggest seller, accounting for some 66% of activity, with 114 units sold to the value of almost R1.175 billion. These have sold at an average price of R10.3 million, almost 60% more than five years ago when the average was at around R6.5 million.

Where only about 10% of all freehold house sales were above the R10 million price mark ranging to a highest price of only R13.5 million five years ago, almost 40% of recent sales are above the price level. This includes six R20 million-plus sales ranging to R24 million, the highest price achieved this year for a home sold by agents Lyn Pope and Rochelle Serman.

In the sectional title sector, some 60 units to the total value of just under R386 million sold at an average price of R6.44 million. Most of these were apartments, with about half of all sales under the R5 million price mark.

Overall, Camps Bay sales volumes continue to outpace its neighbours this year, with 65 units sold compared to 42 in Fresnaye, 23 in Bantry Bay, 12 in Clifton and 32 at the V&A Waterfront. Outside of the Waterfront, it also boasts the highest volume of apartment sales for this year so far.

A good location in the suburb is now so sought after that Pope and Serman recently sold an older home in Park Avenue, about two blocks up from the beach, for R9.5 million, more than the asking price of R8.995 million. The house is being demolished to make way for a new dream villa.

The agents say the particular property, incidentally, was bought by the seller in 2007 for R5.5 million, and thus sold for a profit of R4 million, delivering a return on investment of 173% in just seven years. This also illustrates just how good an investment property in the suburb is.

Pola Jocum says the suburb now easily ranks as one of the most sought after in the country. A luxury buyer looking for a residential, holiday or second home is more likely to look to the Atlantic Seaboard, especially in a suburb such as Camps Bay, and values are therefore likely to continue heading upwards, regardless of the economic challenges.

She attributes this to the suburb offering the X-factor: the perfect combination of a palm-fringed white beach, cosmopolitan lifestyle, sought-after real estate and excellent returns on investment to match. There is only so much property to go around, and buyers are therefore prepared to pay ever-higher prices.

Agents Christine Ireland and Tamar Cheerin say the suburb also has a dynamic rental market and commands some of the highest rental rates in the country. Long-term rentals, for example, now range from around R30 000 per month for a house to around R80 000 on average, but can go as high as R150 000 for an exclusive villa with stunning finishes and sea views.

The suburb is also popular for short-term lets, especially with holidaymakers who flock in this area over the summer months. Daily rates can now range to about R15 000 per day.

The Jocums say each area within Camps Bay has its own unique characteristics and atmosphere that draws buyers.

The Glen, adjacent to the Nature reserve on the slopes of Lions Head, is a leafy-green wind sheltered area. The village area covers the beachfront and parallel roads, which originally consisted of single storey bungalow-style houses, but has developed into a mix of old-style character and luxury new homes.

Bakoven lies close to the ocean and offers a mix of beach bungalows, while Barley Bay offers largely new luxury apartments overlooking the bay. Finally, there is Rontree, a vast area from the slopes of Table Mountain to Camps Bay drive.

Slot says almost any well-priced home or apartment under the R8 million to R10 million price range is now snapped up quite rapidly. The demand for older houses and apartments priced to about R8 million is especially strong. Modern homes tend to be in demand to about the R16 million range, but there is strong demand around the R30 million range.

If Camps Bay is on your bucket list, you would need to make your move sooner rather than later or risk paying ever higher prices. If you are a seller, it is still an excellent time to sell, provided your asking price is fair.

“We have seen that in tough economic times, wealthy buyers tend to put their money into Blue Chip property, and Camps Bay is such a location,” says Slot.
“Our agents are still sitting with a waiting list of cash-ready buyers for the suburb, and with the high season summer months now upon us, it is a good time for those looking to sell.”

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