Rentals for royals

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

London is considered one of the most expensive rental property markets in the world but the cost of renting in some of SA’s hotspots will surprise you.

When I was much younger I saw an advert for a rental property where the owner was asking R8 000 per month. At the time it was inconceivable to me that a person could not only afford to pay such an exorbitant sum for a home they didn't own, but actually earned enough to be able to fork out this obscene sum of money on a monthly basis. To be fair, I was only earning about R700 a month at that stage so my shock/horror was perhaps understandable.

As a property writer I've basically seen it all. I've had the opportunity to stay in some pretty impressive houses around the world and have written numerous articles on the homes of the rich and famous. In other words nothing really surprises me when it comes to property and these days reading that Hugh Hefner has put his home on the market for $200-million barely makes me raise an eyebrow.

However, even I was somewhat taken aback to read that a toilet in Highgate, London is available to rent for…wait for it…£3 000 per month. Firstly, I'm at a bit of a loss as to who would have the need to rent a toilet (in case you’re interested, the loo isn't attached to a home) and secondly, even if they felt the need to acquire this, why on earth would they pay such an astronomical sum for the privilege of spending a penny?

It's no secret that the city’s residential rentals have been rising steeply for years and one of the repercussions is that many entry level workers can no longer afford to live in the capital. While this may not be a major problem for those who live close to the various Underground stations that service the city and surrounds, tenants do pay more for property located close to these amenities.

The website Thrillist has released a map which shows the median price of a one bedroom flat situated within one kilometre of every Underground station on the network. The most expensive area to rent is Hyde Park where the average rent is £2 920. The cheapest rental of £324 is to be found in Hatton Cross which is situated next to Heathrow Airport.

Who, you may well ask, can afford to pay nearly £3 000 for a one-bedroom flat? In South African terms that roughly R42 000 per month, an absolutely ridiculous sum…or is it? It appears that some local landlords are cashing in on the demand for upmarket properties with the ‘right’ address. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in Sea Point is available on Private Property for R125 000 per month. To be honest, this does appear to be a little pricey when one considers that you can rent a seven bedroom fully furnished home in Camps Bay for only R150 000 or even better, spend R106 000 on a four-bedroom property in Clifton.

All of these properties undoubtedly have glorious views of the Atlantic Ocean which is naturally going to inflate the monthly rental and even though the price of upmarket rental homes in Gauteng may be a little on the steep side, they certainly won't compare to this…right? Wrong! There are a number of properties in places like Bryanston and Hyde Park that will set you back R150 000 per month. There is an upside though - many of these are fully furnished. The downside is that you are going to have to put down an additional R150 000 as a deposit before you can move in - that's R300 000 before you can even blink. Who can afford these incredible sums of money? One thing is for sure, it isn't me and judging by how much I earn (slightly more than the R700 of my youth) it isn't ever going to be.

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