Rated by Lighstone, Clifton holds the country’s top position for freehold - out of 5 163 suburbs, and sectional scheme - out of 1927 suburbs. The Cape Peninsula’s overall status includes four of the country’s six top national rankings, for both freehold and sectional scheme properties. Unprecedented demand for properties in this area is illustrated in the continued upward growth, where in 2004 average freehold prices were R6.8million and have peaked at R15.9million in 2010, and sectional scheme property prices increased from R 1.9million to R7.1million in the same period. Clifton’s top ranking is illustrated in currently holding SA’s top average property prices, with freehold property values of R13.6million and sectional share properties of R7.7million.
National rankings are followed by Gauteng’s Sandhurst in second place for freehold, followed by Llundudno, Steenberg Golf Course and Bantry Bay. The Atlantic Seaboard’s status as top SA property performer is seen in Clifton’s number one suburb ranking closely followed by its three Atlantic Seaboard neighbours Llundudno, Bantry Bay and Camps Bay. And when it comes to global status, Clifton Beach 4 proudly holds Blue Flag status awarded for its high standards in matters environmental, safety and tourism, and is located only 10 minutes from the city centre.
The shortage of undeveloped land in Clifton has long been one of the major drivers in the suburb’s high property prices. One of the unusual features of houses on this spectacular stretch of beaches is the small size of properties, many of which were originally old style beach bungalows, that have either been re-built or renovated into trendy, architecturally designed properties. History has it that the area between fourth and second beaches became built-up as a result of land allocated by the City of Cape Town for returning soldiers who had fought in World War I. Soldiers resided in bungalows built from the packing cases that conveyed imported motor cars during the 1920s and '30s. Today Clifton’s residents are a healthy mix of property owners, the majority who reside there for 11 years and more, and who are between 50 and 64 years of age.
Clifton’s four beaches, plus Moses Beach, the lesser known fifth beach positioned before First Beach, are separated in a unique fashion by falls of granite boulders and pure white granite sand. One of the big selling points of properties in this location is that it offers superb protection against the notorious south-easterly winds in summer, while the mountainous backdrop offers reasonable shelter from north westerly prevailing winds during winter. Another unique characteristic of this suburb is the steep and narrow flights of stairs running from the top of Victoria Road down to various beaches, providing access to homes. The shortage of garaging in Clifton as a result of a lack of space and the high number of luxury vehicles has pushed up the prices of garages, with the latest single garage going onto the market at R2million and a tandem garage for R2.3 million. Newly built apartment blocks and homes are designed to offer garage lifts into basement parking that provides residents the luxury of easy access as opposed to staircases.
Residents here say that Clifton’s Mediterranean lifestyle is the main attraction, overriding their frustration during summer months when heavy traffic causes congestion, and overcrowded beaches leave those not fortunate enough to own private or in-house parking, stranded.