Properties should allow easy access to one’s place of work, transport, social networks and amenities
Finding a first rental property may not be as big a deal as a first home purchase, but for young people taking this big step of independence, the decision is just as important.
Most people rent for at least five years before they are in the financial position to buy their first property, and more often than not their first rental home is a flat.
In the southern suburbs, apartments tend to offer ideal starter rentals.
Those who cannot afford to live on their own take on flatmates to share costs, say Natheema Tymowicz and Imtiaz Adam, rental agents with Seeff southern suburbs.
According to a recent PayProp Rental Index, the national average monthly rental is R7 308. The Western Cape has the highest average rental of R8 777 a month.
Gauteng tenants pay an average of R7 692 a month.
More than 31% of rents fall into the affordable bracket of R5 000 to R7 500 and 16% in the bracket up to R10 000, this being the broad range that would attract young professionals and job market entrants.
The index also shows 31% to 34% of their income is spent on rent. Seeff says rent should ideally not exceed 30% to 40% of one’s income.
The agents also advise that properties should allow easy access to one’s place of work, transport, social networks and amenities.
“Look for basics such as laundry facilities, somewhere to shop and a fitness centre,” Tymowicz says. Young renters also tend to look for areas with hot hangouts and nightlife. Security and parking are also important.
Popular areas in Cape Town include anywhere from Woodstock and Observatory to Claremont and Kenilworth, and on to Plumstead and Diep River. Average rental rates for the southern suburbs range from R7 500 to R10 000 a month for a one-bedroom and R9 000 to R20 000 for a two-bedroom property.
In Diep River and Plumstead, a two-bedroomed unit can be rented for about R7 000 to R8 500 a month. Adam says young professionals are now settling here because of affordability and proximity to amenities.
Woodstock and the CBD are also popular.
According to Seeff, areas, where young professionals should consider renting, are:
* Unfurnished studios units range from R8 500 to R10 000.
* One-bedroom units from R10 000 to R12 000.
* Two-bedroom units from R12 000 to R15 000, although rents can reach R22 000 for unfurnished flats R35 000 for furnished.
* Furnished properties cost about 20% more.
Sea Point and surrounds:
* Studios range from R8 000 to R10 000.
* One-bedroom properties from R9 500 to R12 000.
* Two-bedroom units from R15 000 to R25 000.
* Monthly rents for one-bedroom units start at about R6 500.
* A two-bedroom unit starts at about R8 000 a month.
* Apartments closer to the beaches range from R10 000 for two bedrooms and upwards of R13 000 for three bedrooms.