Property worth millions sold in Constantia

The great heritage suburbs of SA – including the likes of Constantia in Cape Town, Houghton in Johannesburg and Waterkloof in Pretoria -are enjoying renewed popularity among top professionals and captains of industry, and a surge in home sales, thanks largely to the value for money now evident in these areas.

“This revival is clearly reflected” says Andre de Villiers, the Chas Everitt International franchisee for Constantiaberg, “in the fact that our agents working in Constantia and Upper Constantia have sold more than R42 million worth of homes in these areas since the start of the year.

“Such areas have always been desirable, but were regarded by many as having become overpriced during the last boom, when it also became fashionable for well-to-do buyers to acquire more modern homes in upmarket security estates further away from city centres.”

But now the pendulum has swung the other way, he says. “Living in a heritage area with leafy avenues, gracious homes in large grounds, easy access to the city centre and above-all, proximity to excellent schools, is once more the very ‘in’ thing to do – especially when the area also contains superb restaurants and top-class entertainment and sporting venues.

“In addition, of course, home prices in these areas have moved very little in the past four years, and many existing homeowners are now also of an age when their families are grown and they are looking to downscale to smaller properties that are easier to maintain. They are generally negotiable on price and as a result, there is currently really good value to be had, to add to the cachet of an address in one of the country’s top areas.

“And on top of that there is great potential for excellent investment returns as the property cycle turns upwards again – a fact which has not been lost on high-end buyers, knowledgeable as they usually are about the real estate market.”

In Constantia, says Chas Everitt International area specialist Shanaz Sity-Herskovitz, home prices currently range from around R2 million to R13,5 million, but there is a “severe shortage” of properties available for less than R3 million.“Demand has surged since late last year and now even properties that had been on the market for a considerable time have been sold. Constantia Hills in particular is now very sought-after because it is zoned for Sweet Valley School and close to the American International and Reddam schools.”

Properties she has sold since January include a traditional Constantia family home in need of modernisation which went for R2,2 million and a stylish modern home sold for R3,75 milllion, as well as a clutch of properties sold for between R2,6 million and R3 million.

And there is also strong demand, she says, for rental properties at rates between R10 000 a month for a smallish townhouse and R15 000 to R25 000 a month for afamily home.

Rental demand is also high in Upper Constantia, especially from multinational corporations who favour the newer “security estates” in this area for their senior management working in SA on assignment, according to Chas Everitt International area specialists Marion Bolton and Sally Gracie. Rentals for the luxury homes in such estates start at around R25 000 a month and can reach R80 000 a month.

However, the agents say, there is also rising demand, notably from foreign buyers, for homes to buy in Upper Constantia – where prices range from around R3 million to well-over R30 million - and there is a definite shortage developing in the R4,5 million to R5,5 million range that is unlikely to be alleviated by new development because there is very little undeveloped land available and existing properties can only be subdivided to a minimum of 1350sqm.

“Above that level, we find that sellers are still often pitching their initial asking prices too high. Those who are keen to sell quickly now should not that on traditional freehold properties, the average difference between asking price and actual selling price is currently around 20%, while the top-end homes in security estates have been selling for about 25% less than the asking prices.”

Recent sales by Bolton and Gracie include a luxury three-bedroom townhouse in an upmarket estate sold for R2,75 million, a traditional family home sold for R6,65 million and a four-bedroom luxury property in an outstanding position which sold for R14,5 million.

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