Living in the city

Private Property South Africa
Anna-Marie Smith

Inner city living is growing in popularity as rejuvenation projects help lift the face of previously neglected precincts.

Investors and landlords buy into the long term planning and funding that facilitates all-round quality living. This includes ease of access, safety and security, cleaning and greening of public open spaces, rooftop and vertical wall gardens, and public parking spaces.

The lifestyle preferences of inner city residents are quite specific. Living within less than a kilometre or two from the buzz, plus a wide variety of options to choose from, are just some priorities of tenants and buyers. All round savings, both in hard currency and travelling time, top the lists of younger community members in search of affordable work and play solutions. Demand for inner city housing is motivated by individuals spending anything from 20% to 30% of income on transport, who are then able to walk and cycle to save costs.

Economic productivity

Improved economic productivity through more jobs and increased tourism are just some of the benefits of private and public business partnerships. Residents also benefit from simultaneous upgrades of public transport systems, that allow easy access from central locations via train and bus transports systems such as ReaVaya in Gauteng, Muvo in Durban and MyCiTi busses in Cape Town.

The latest trends in inner city living in Port Elizabeth illustrate employment and entertainment opportunities within short walking and commuting distances of each other.

The ongoing regeneration of older properties in Port Elizabeth is catering for a younger tenant base. Convenient access, even in a small city, says Ruby Geyer of KG Property Solutions, is the main driver behind fast sales and rentals of units in recently-renovated apartments. For example, the facelift of a Hanclaria, a 30-unit block within short walking distance of the inner city, has contributed to increased demand.

Price ranges in PE

The price range for the most popular in demand city apartment in PE is anything below R500 000. Landlords are charging entry level rentals of R2 600 per month for bachelor apartments and maximum rentals of R4 900 per month, with the most demand being for one- and two-bedroom units that can be shared by young professional and student tenants.

Renewals of culturally rich and quaint heritage areas, such as in and around the Donkin Reserve precinct is drawing occupants to a continental ambience with promising investment returns. Rube says that the recent renewal and subsequent turnover of units in three different buildings in the city proves that Port Elizabeth offers investor potential at all levels.

That Durban vibe

The renewal of Durban’s central business district is inspiring a diverse and rich living environment along the Rivertown Precinct, between the beachfront and Durban International Convention Centre.

he design collaboration of this three-phase mixed-use facility comprises residential, hotel, commercial, cultural and retail projects. This regenerated cultural setting will offer local residents a vibrant mixed-use living experience in two famous art deco buildings that are to be re-developed into 150 apartments, priced from R350 000.

Some of the perceived drawbacks of city living that are hardly a deterrent according to residents, are heightened noise levels during peak hours and increased foot traffic during high-season periods. But, inner city living in rejuvenated precincts is being recognised as a prime investment opportunity that affords residents a rich and vibrant cultural lifestyle.

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