Demand for Student Accommodation in Cape Town Exceeds Supply

Private Property South Africa
Anna-Marie Smith

So high is the demand for student accommodation in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs that large institutions are investing heavily into further development of this sector of the property market.

The development of both shared freehold accommodation and sectional share properties are seeing banks and developers taking the opportunity of expanding investments. The steady growth of student and residential accommodation near the University of Cape Town is illustrated by Lightstone showing average values of sectional scheme properties in Rondebosch in 2004 at R435 000, to have increased in value to R928 000, and average freehold properties valued at R 1.3 million in 2004 were valued at R2.3million in 2010.

Property owners who rent their units in this area enjoy reasonable security as a result of seasonal one year leases of students, as well as families with children at schools or tertiary institutions in this area. This suburban area comprising 7km2 between Rondebosch, Rosebank and Newlands currently has 128 apartment blocks and a total of 21 000 residents. As a result of high demand Nedbank Corporate Property Finance recently provided R25 million in financing a new upmarket student accommodation development in Rosebank, that was completed last month. Developers Jeremy Chaitman and Shamus Fitzhenry who acquired the erven in 2007 and 2008, are letting units privately and occupation stood at 80% shortly after launch. Richard Thomas, regional executive Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, Cape. Says: “In this particular instance, our finance team worked closely with the developers to structure a financial solution that would allow the opportunities presented by the demand for student accommodation in the area, coupled with the severely restricted supply, to be harnessed to the benefit of all the stakeholders involved.”

This upmarket student accommodation facility predominantly aimed at students at the University of Cape Town is also ideally placed for students attending Varsity College, AFDA, CPUT and Damelin. This four storey apartment block is conveniently located on Durban Road, which borders Mowbray and Rosebank between Liesbeek Parkway and Main Road, and comprises 55 two-bedroom apartments, each measuring between 34 and 36 m² in size. Facilities such as state-of-the-art security have been implemented and the building also features a 24-hour concierge service, biometric access control systems and CCTV camera monitoring.

The scarcity of vacant land available for development in this area has also seen Rawson Developers investing heavily here with three new developments launched recently. These include the second phase of the Rondebosch Oaks development comprising 106 units, Rivers Edge of 81 units, and The Rondebosch comprising 166 units. Rawsons is currently applying to the city council for development rights on a three hectare site off Park Road in Rondebosch, owned by the Marist Sports Club. The proposed development to be named “Rondebosch Oval” will ensure the survival of the sports club where facilities will be kept intact, while the vacant land will provide space for the development of 77 houses and apartments protected by a secure perimeter wall, 24 hour guards and a high security access. If approved, around 200 people will be accommodated in this development where apartments varying in size from 55m² to 170m² with prices ranging from R850 000 to R1,8 million.

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