Waterfront property benefits from pandemic as buyers weigh quality of life

    V&A Waterfront Marina, R20 million for this fabulous two-bed corner apartment on the sought-after front yacht basin

    Properties located near water generally come at a premium, sometimes up to 50% higher than property located further away.

    Due to these higher price points, waterfront areas are often the first to reflect the effects of an economic downturn, but according to Ross Levin, licensee for Seeff Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl, Cape Town’s waterfront property is seeing a resurgence with buyers and investors once again looking to invest in this prime real estate.

    He says that while the Covid pandemic has driven demand for more outdoor space and green areas, it has also boosted demand for waterfront apartments as people look for a better lifestyle. This is well reflected in the sales activity at the V&A Marina, the premier waterfront estate in the country, which is at the best level in three years with sales for the first half of 2021 of over R230 million at an average selling price of R12,8 million.

    Seeff’s Waterfront team of Kim Bailey and Finella Botes have concluded some 63% of all sales during the first half of this year including a R45 million sale, the highest price achieved since 2014. It was purchased by a foreign investor as a holiday home.

    For the first time in years, demand for waterfront apartments is outweighing supply. Investors are becoming aware of the shortage of stock and are expediting offers as a result according to the agents.

    Apartment sales at the Foreshore has also been brisk, amounting to R25,4 million at an average selling price of just over R2,8 million during the first half of this year. There is a huge demand for well-priced apartments, particularly in Harbour Bridge and Canal Quays as investors look to capitalise on the buy-to-let and short-term rental markets.

    Mouille Point is another waterfront area which is currently enjoying high demand with sales by mid-year of R101 million at an average selling price of R5,95 million.

    Front sea-facing apartments are the most popular, but the agents caution that there is no appetite for overpriced properties. Waterfront property in the V&A Waterfront, Mouille Point and Foreshore have continued to grow in value over the last few years. Current stock levels are not supporting the demand and buyers should take care not to wait until the market shifts in favour of sellers.

    Century City is also seeing excellent activity with Seeff clinching record prices of up to R9,35 million for a home in Waterstone Isles, says Helga Clemo, licensee for Seeff Century City. Both the sales and rentals markets are very active.

    While apartments below R2 million are selling rapidly, buyer appetite has increased for high-end properties, specifically the freestanding homes in the estate. She says that many buyers are looking to upscale to a larger property with work from home space and a private garden for their children.

    Rental accommodation in the area is also in high demand driven by the excellent lifestyle with green parks, walking, cycling, water canals and the Canal Walk shopping and restaurant precinct, basically within walking distance of everything.

    There is also still investor interest in Century City, with buyers wanting to rent out their properties. It is a great time for them to buy as prices are lower than last year.

    The Tyger Waterfront in Bellville is another popular waterfront area according to Anéne Botha, an agent with Seeff Durbanville. It offers great value for money below R2 million and benefits from the low interest rate boost that the market is currently experiencing.

    The area has shown tremendous growth in the past five years and is an excellent investment for any investor’s portfolio given the high demand for rentals, she says.

    The estate is central to all amenities including Tyger Valley and Willowbridge and it is in demand with professionals and investors. Large office parks and head offices such as Santam and Metropolitan ensures a large pool of tenants who would like to rent here and walk to work.

    For those in the medical profession, the Tygerberg Campus and Hospital, Melomed, Karl Bremmer and Intercare are just a few minutes’ drive away. The area is also popular with medical students. Keeping fit is easy as the area is convenient with easy access to Virgin Active, Zone Fitness gyms and the Tyger Valley Canoe club.

    In the waterfront town of Knysna, Thesen Islands offers a top waterfront lifestyle and property here is attracting high demand despite the premium that property in this prime waterside location attracts. It is bucking the trend and seeing an undersupply of stock with a stream of cash-ready buyers in the R4,5 million to R8 million price range according to Seeff Knysna.

    Demand is driven by an influx of families moving into Knysna since the Pandemic as people realise they can work remotely. The estate is currently achieving the highest average selling price in Knysna at R7,92 million, up from R5,22 million in 2014.

    Author: Gina Meintjes
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