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Clifton: Moneyed playground

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The Atlantic seaboard is the hottest area in the South African property market, and Clifton is the place where price temperatures are sizzling ever upwards.

With its pristine beaches, azure ocean and windless summer days, Clifton is one of Cape Town’s most popular destinations for locals and tourists. As Annette Hepburn, Pam Golding Properties agent for Clifton, says: “This is the Riviera, the St Tropez of South Africa.”

Undeniably the playground of the rich and the famous, Clifton’s property prices are considerably higher than elsewhere on the Atlantic seaboard which is, according to the FNB Property Barometer, the “hottest” property market in Cape Town and possibly the country. The Atlantic Seaboard has shown an estimated cumulative house price inflation of 143.9% in just five years, says FNB.

Properties here vary from large homes and luxury villas to high-end apartments and beach bungalows close to the ocean. While parking is at a premium in this area, most properties are elegantly designed with luxury features such as infinity swimming pools and top-notch security that adds to their appeal. Hepburn says the demand for parking means bays are also highly sought after. One parking bay was recently sold for R1.65million.

Hepburn describes Clifton as a niche market where only 12 to 16 properties go on the market a year.

“Unless there is a need to sell, people don’t let go of properties. Many are holiday homes.”

Places of interest and things to do in Clifton

Because there’s no more land on which to build, buyers pay high prices for homes and often renovate them to their requirements, or even demolish and rebuild.

Hepburn says many of her sales are repeat business to loyal clients with whom she has a strong relationship. Many of her buyers are from Gauteng, or South Africans now living overseas.

“About 80% of my sales are to local buyers.”

Clifton properties seldom come on to the market. Picture: Leon Lestrade

While the market is “tight”, homes that are priced correctly will sell, and they sell almost immediately. “Beach-facing homes sell particularly well.”

Pam Golding Properties recently sold a bungalow property for R59m, and a 49m² apartment with no parking recently went for R138m. Hepburn says apartments in Clifton sell for between R138000/m² and upwards to R180000/m². Homes on Nettleton Road are listed for between R150m and R750m.

On the Atlantic seaboard, sectional title sales are booming as investors seek lock-up-and-go properties close to popular attractions. They want the status of owning property on the trendy Atlantic Seaboard, close to amenities and the city centre.

James Warne, Pam Golding Properties rental agent for the Atlantic Seaboard, says Clifton has always been a desirable rental destination, especially in summer.

“There is a large variance of property types, and with that a variance in long-term rentals achieved.”

One of the highest rentals achieved this year by Pam Golding Properties was a four-bedroom villa for R150000 a month. Another top-end let was a three-bedroom apartment for R85000 a month.

Clifton property overlooking the ocean. Picture: Tracey Adams/ANA

Warne says on average new two-bedroom apartments start at about R40000 a month and can rent for upwards of R60000. Three-bedroom units start at about R50000 a month and can reach R130000 a month, depending on the finishes and proximity to the beach and allocated parking bays.

Janine Sullivan, Pam Golding Properties rental agent for the Atlantic seaboard, attributes Clifton’s popularity to its beachfront location and gorgeous sunsets.

“In summer, the beaches are vibrant and there are parties at night. The Victoria Road promenade is popular with runners and those taking an afternoon stroll or walks with dogs.”

Clifton has a relaxed atmosphere that makes it extremely popular.

“All our guests have been very happy with the location. Our four-bedroom villas range from R6000 a night to R30000 a night over peak season.”

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