Located on the lower eastern slope of Devil’s Peak, Cape Town’s Rosebank is characterised in the main by opulent Victorian homes and a smattering of Herbert Baker properties. And it is these properties which have attracted professionals seeking upmarket living and an equally upmarket address in their droves over the years.
So says Tina Malyon of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty which services the area. Geographically, Rosebank stretches down to and across the Liesbeek River and up the other embankment to the edge of Rondebsoch Common. The suburb is one of Cape Town’s most established and can be broadly divided into two nodes: the ‘affordable’ node which lies below the suburb’s Metrorail Line and the pocket above the track which plays host to many of Rosebank’s grand Victorian properties.
According to Malyon, some of the finest of these are situated on Banksia Road and enjoy views of Devil’s Peak. Interestingly, Malyon notes that although the majority of the actual houses are quite generously proportioned, the plots on which they sit are somewhat diminutive with many measuring approximately 550sqm’s. Typically these Victorian gems sell at between R2,1m to R5m depending on the size of land and condition of the property.
Malyon says professionals with families and doctors in particular have flocked to the area and tend to remain for a number of years as a recent Lightstone report on the area will attest. According to the report, 34% of Rosebank’s ‘stable’ owners have lived in the area for over 11 years; another 14% have resided there for between 8 and 10 years.
Malyon reckons the aesthetic appeal of the Victorian homes, coupled with Rosebank’s proximity to good shops, educational and medical establishments has much to do with the long tenure many residents spend in the area. Bishop’s, Rondebosch Boys High School, Rustenburg Girl’s High School, the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Mowbray Maternity Hospital are but a few of the amenities which lie within close reach.
Accordingly, Rosebank property doesn’t often come onto the market. Indeed, Propstatts statistics cite only six freehold properties as having being sold to date in the area in 2011. Yet, despite the perceived exclusivity of the area, Malyon adds that when property does become available it still has to be priced correctly otherwise it won’t move, which perhaps is a sign of the times. Two other elements working in Rosebank’s favour are Liesbeek Park and the Rondebosch Commons. Both are popular dog-walking venues with Rosebank residents and make for appealing green lungs for the suburb.
“Rosebank isn’t necessarily for everyone though,” notes Malyon. “Those who think they can alter any of the Victorian homes to make them more contemporary should perhaps look elsewhere as the bulk of these properties are protected by Heritage laws. Although they can be altered internally and at the back, facades must remain unchanged.”
What is more, would-be residents should be aware that some of Rosebank’s Victorian properties require a little more TLC than the average house. The suburb is built on clay which means the ground occasionally shifts which translates into the odd crack every now and then. Of course many would argue that this is small price to pay for the benefit of living within such splendid surrounds. Rosebank’s Herbert Baker buildings also enjoy similar protection to that of their Victorian counterparts. What few there are typically straddle plots measuring 1, 500sqm’s, are double storey and can sell for as much as R7m if and when they do become available which is rare.
Of course Rosebank offers more than just Victorian and Herbert Baker properties. A number B&B’s and sectional title developments have mushroomed of late, the latter in response to demand from university students attending UCT. These units sell at between R830 000 and R2m and are usually snapped up fairly quickly says Malyon.