Developments proving to be an important gateway for many first-time buyers, including young couples and single mothers, as prices in the area are considered reasonable
Created in the 1970s by the apartheid government as a “model” town to house victims of forced removals under the Group Areas Act, Mitchells Plain on the Cape Flats is made up of several suburbs.
It contained various types of housing – duplexes, semi-detached homes and free-standing houses -with cheaper options further from the city centre and transport routes. More expensive properties with bigger stands were nearer the freeway, the main transport route to Cape Town, about 30km away.
Nevertheless, there were a limited number of home designs and one of the most striking features of Mitchells Plain, says RealNet franchisee Astrid Smith-De Gruchy, is how similar properties are in each suburb.
“Only about 30% of homes have been upgraded and buying patterns haven’t really changed, so each suburb still tends to be populated only by particular income groups. Some are home to those who depend on disability and pension grants. Others are home almost exclusively to high-earning professionals.”
Many residents choose to stay in Mitchells Plain close to family and friends instead of moving out and this has added to its lively property market, she says.
Local Shaheen Jafta, Independent Media’s SME consultant for advertising, says while there are still many socio-economic problems in the area, some places still have a sense of community. “In mine, Portlands and in Rocklands, communities still stand together and look out for one another.
“While children play outside you still see old ladies watching over them.”
There are always developments on the market to cater for demand. The latest, Rondevlei Park, has two- and three-bedroom homes from R649900 to R879900. Eldora Close in Colorado Park offers up-market three-bedroom homes from R1.069million to R1.249m.
“Given property prices in other parts of Cape Town, the less expensive units in Mitchells Plain, beginning from around R200000, are an important gateway to ownership for many first-time buyers, including young couples and single mothers,” says Smith-De Gruchy.
“Most sellers here are seeking to upgrade within Mitchells Plain, except senior citizens planning to live with children or move to a retirement village, using equity to help fund retirement.
“Equity growth has been healthy in the past year, with prices in the lower-income areas up by around 10% and in more affluent suburbs by as much as 15%.”
The cheapest properties, says Smith-De Gruchy, are located below AZ Berman Drive. Those in the medium range (R450000 to R750000) are found in areas such as Lentegeur, Rocklands, Portland, Westridge and Woodlands. The most expensive are close to exits from Mitchells Plain.
Mitchells Plain has more than 20 primary and high schools, dozens of nursery and pre-schools, vocational and religious schools, and schools for special needs children. There are many churches and mosques, a private hospital, a district hospital and a gym. The area has one of the biggest public transport interchanges in the country.
Hangouts, places of interest, things to do in Mitchells Plain
1 Open Streets
Eisleben Road has been closed to traffic for Open Streets days three times since 2016, and their success will no doubt lead to more. The events feature children’s games, sporting activities and a street market. Tafelsig resident Randall Wynkwardt says: “Moving around Cape Town as a person with disabilities is not easy. Open Streets helps all understand the daily challenges.”
Westridge Gardens is popular for birthday parties, weddings, photo shoots, family walks and picnics. It is also the site of the annual Mitchells Plain Festival – a three-day event featuring exhibitions, food stalls and live entertainment.
Mnandi Beach is a popular weekend hangout. It has Blue Flag status and is safe for swimming and many water sports, including surfing and kite surfing. There is a children’s playground, a large pool with water slides, landscaped gardens with picnic and braai spots, and plenty of parking.
Three huge shopping malls – Promenade Centre, Westgate Mall and Watergate Centre – mean Mitchells Plain residents never need to travel far to find banks, supermarkets, specialist and national retailers, movies, restaurants, fast-food outlets and medical services.
5 Eat-in or out
Mitchells Plain has plenty of national food chain outlets serving everything from milkshakes, coffee, cake and doughnuts to pizza, fish, chicken, burgers and steaks, which can be enjoyed at sit-down restaurants or taken home for convenience.