Cape Town’s City Bowl ticks more boxes than any other downtown residential area in the country

As the only South African city with a thriving CBD, Cape Town’s adjacent City Bowl offers the perfect synergy of urban accessibility and suburban lifestyle, which makes it especially appealing to millennials (under 35s) who accounted for 42% and 25% of recent buyers in Vredehoek and Gardens respectively.

Costa Psomas of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty’s City Bowl office says: “It’s common knowledge that this generation typically seeks convenience, preferring to live close to their places of work with a choice of easily accessible leisure and entertainment amenities on their doorsteps.

“However, they have surprisingly traditional values when it comes to raising families which is why the City Bowl perfectly caters to all their needs. The bustling city centre is within walking distance of most areas, yet they have retained their tranquil suburban ambience with tree-lined streets and an array of family-friendly amenities, from secure parks and play areas to child-friendly family restaurants.”

He says that analysis of Lightstone data clearly reflects the changing demographics in the City Bowl, with 53% of recent sellers in Vredehoek being in the 50 plus age group while 58% of recent buyers were aged between 18 and 49. In Tamboerskloof, 56% of sellers were older than 50 while 56% of recent buyers were younger than 49 and in Gardens 53% of the seller during the last year were in the 50 plus age group and 61% of recent investors were aged between 18 and 49.

He adds that another attraction is that the City Bowl still offers buyers a wide range of property options.

“In the growing sectional title sector, choices range from studio flats to spacious renovated apartments in older blocks and modern upmarket penthouses at the upper end of the market.

“But, despite the rampant densification, around 30% of the properties in Gardens, Vredehoek and Tamboerskloof are still freestanding and options include cosy Victorian cottages, traditional family homes and large contemporary houses on sizeable grounds.”

Lew Geffen, chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says: “It’s true that the City Bowl’s emergence as one of the city’s most resilient markets has driven prices higher in recent years, placing the area further out of the reach of first time buyers and young families, but there is still value to be found if investors have patience and time.”

Citing Lightstone data, Geffen says that although the average house price in Vredehoek for the last year ending September 30 was R6.2 million, there were also three sales in the R1.5m to R3m price band which averaged R2.19m and in Gardens three of the 42 houses sold changed hands at an average sale price of R2.6m.

“During the same period, there were also numerous apartment sold at very accessible prices. In Vredehoek, 20 of the 114 sectional title transactions fell in the R800 00 to R1.5m price band and averaged R1.2 and in Gardens 12 of 139 flats sold realised a similar average sale price.”

Psomas says that the City Bowl’s multiple draw cards are also attracting a growing number of investment buyers looking to capitalise on the strong short- and long-term rental market, especially in Vredehoek and Devils Peak which have been very resilient to the market shifts with rental returns and investment yields remaining high.

And, although agents in most Cape Town suburbs are reporting a dip semigrant enquiries this year, Psomas says that upcountry interest in the City Bowl’s sales and rental markets is still very active, especially in Vredehoek where there have been many new developments.

Geffen concludes: “Although there has been a slight dip in the overall number sales this year, property values have remained stable, especially in the lower to mid-markets, while the most sought-after pockets have continued to achieve very solid growth.