It might come at a hefty price tag, but prime property on the Atlantic Seaboard is still 10 times cheaper than anything offered in its European counterpart.
With its cascading hillside setting fronting an ocean strewn with luxury mega-yachts, its temperate Mediterranean climate, and its multimillion-rand mansions, it’s no surprise that Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard has been dubbed the “Monaco of the South”.
And, like the small but exceedingly prosperous principality on the Côte d’Azur, where high-rollers and hedonists come to play, the stretch of land sandwiched between the glistening Atlantic and the slopes of Lion’s Head and the Twelve Apostles has a red-hot real estate market.
“Demand is high, supply is scarce and property prices are off the charts,” says Rory O’Hagan, CEO of the Luxury Portfolio division of Chas Everitt International, a South African affiliate of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World© that is currently marketing the cream of the country’s homes to millions of high net worth individuals around the world.
He says the market for residential property on the Atlantic Seaboard, especially in the top-tier suburbs of Camps Bay, Clifton, Bantry Bay, Bakoven, Fresnaye and Llandudno, operates independently of the general market and is, by and large, unaffected by interest-rate fluctuations, political upheavals or a lack of consumer confidence.
Its proximity to the CBD, not to mention the city’s best beaches, restaurants, shops and nightlife, certainly makes property on this stretch of the coastline the most desirable in the Cape – and highly aspirational for an increasing number of affluent buyers elsewhere in SA and the world.
According to the latest figures from New World Wealth, the Atlantic Seaboard is home to half of the country’s 10 most expensive streets, including The Ridge, Cliff and Nettleton Roads in Clifton, where properties change hands at an average of R85 000 to R90 000/sqm; Kloof Road in Bantry Bay where the average selling price is R82 000/sqm and Victoria Road running from Clifton to Bantry Bay, where it is R77 000/sqm.
Of the blue-chip suburbs on this coast, Camps Bay has proved to be the most dynamic, recording an average price growth of 50% in the past five years, says O’Hagan. Despite its famous “strip”, where the sun-kissed and fabulous jostle for bar stools at the likes of Café Caprice and Blues, the suburb is attractive to families, who are drawn to its larger homes set on good-sized stands.
Over 60% of Camps Bay’s residents are stable owners between the ages of 35 and 65, and 46% of recent buyers are under the age of 50, many of them Gauteng semigrants who will stay on at least for the duration of their children’s schooling.
At an average price of R12m for a three-bedroom house, Camps Bay also offers great value compared to its neighbours, he says. “In Llandudno, the same size house will set you back in excess of R20m, while in Clifton, you’ll struggle to find a two-bedroom apartment for that price.
“That said though, when it comes to luxury property, Atlantic Seaboard prices are still extremely attractive compared to those in other cities currently favoured by global property investors.”
Indeed, according to Global Property Guide, while US$1m will currently buy you around 230sqm of prime property in the so-called “Monaco of the South”, the same sum will buy little more than a paltry 20sqm in the real tiny city-state situated on France’s southeastern coast.
“So it is not really surprising,” O’Hagan says, “that foreign investment has accounted for 17% of all residential sales in Bantry Bay, Camps Bay, Clifton and Fresnaye over the past five years – and a sizable 22% chunk of the total rand value achieved during this period.
“However, the owners of the trophy homes in the area still predominantly South African locals – and over 60% of the top-end investors here are actually Capetonians.”