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Cape Town property boom defies embattled economy gloom

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Despite sluggish and embattled economy, investors appear to be coining it in Cape Town as property market continues to boom

Siyabonga Sesant

DESPITE an embattled economy, Cape Town’s multi-billion rand property market showed no signs of slowing, with more than R16 billion of investments which would be ploughed into local coffers – boosting property valuations in the city centre to over R30 billion.

Approximately R16.2 billion of investment has, conservatively, been committed in the form of 63 developments underway in the city centre since 2012; some, of which are either in the proposed or planning phases, expected to be completed in 2019.

The fifth annual edition of The State of Cape Town Central City Report, which is considered a yardstick for investors, detailed not only a boom in the commercial property market, but also a spike in the retail and residential options.

Carola Koblitz, communications manager for the Cape Town Central Improvement District (CCID), said since 2015, average unit prices in the central city had increased by a staggering 15% year-on-year.

This had a ripple-effect in the price of rentals, she explained.

Tenants were, on average, expected to fork out around R10 000 per month for a bachelor apartment, R15 000 for a one bedroom-, and approximately R22 000 for a two bedroom flat, Koblitz said.

There was hope for lower-income earners, however.

CCID chairperson Rob Kane said there was “enormous anticipation” around the proposed Foreshore Freeway development, which was widely expected to address the thorny issue of affordable housing in the city.

Following a call for proposals which ended last month, the city said it would take at least two years before the project got off the ground.

We have a substantial CBD workforce that commutes many hours a day to get to work and spends up to 40% of their income just on transportation,” Kane said.

“The values of private property in the CBD, even of underutilised commercial buildings, are now such that it has become difficult for private developers to construct affordable housing, but a public-private partnership could very successfully enable this to finally occur.”

Kain said the CCID footprint, which is divided into four precincts, includes the Foreshore confines.

“We are… quite humbled to see the enormous confidence in the central city that has been reflected in these reports since we published the first one five years ago,” he said.

The latest report, he said, detailed that between 2012 and the end of 2016, more than R4.4 billion in property investment was completed in the city centre.

“There is also currently R4.32bn under construction, and another R7.42bn which is either in planning or in proposal development phase,” he added.

Kane said while the city’s most recent property valuations reflected a nominal value of R30.6 billion, the amount could rise “well beyond R42bn by 2019, taking all current construction and proposed projects into account”. –


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