Tokai a hot favourite for young families and empty nesters

There has been a recent spike in demand for fixer-upper homes in Tokai, both from young families looking to establish a family home to their own specifications as well as from empty nesters who are downsizing but not willing to move to the confines of an apartment.

This is according to Herculene Visser of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, who says that Tokai has many smaller freestanding properties on manageable plot sizes which offer an accessible entry price point of between R2.8 million and R3.5m as well as low-maintenance convenience.

“The market has continued to show steady growth, so buyers are increasingly attracted by the knowledge that further investment in renovation costs will add value to their properties.

“Propstats data shows that in 2014 during the last property boom, the average house price in Tokai, excluding the estates and Zwaanswyk, was R3.06m with homes spending an average of 38 days on the market. And, in spite of the slowing economy and dip in the general market, by October this year the average sale price had risen to R4.01m and, at an average of 49 days, taking only marginally longer to sell.”

She adds that part of Tokai’s appeal has always been that the suburb offers buyers a wide choice of options across broad price bands.

Most popular are three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes on small to medium erven of between 600m² and 1 100m² with the majority of investors being from the Western Cape. Most of the downsizing buyers are from suburbs like Constantia who are looking to move to lower maintenance properties but prefer to stay in the area.

Visser says: “Tokai has always been a traditional suburb comprising 99% freehold properties where buyers settle for life, often only leaving the family home when the time comes to moves to retirement accommodation.

“Currently, 50% of existing owners have lived in their homes for 11 years or longer and that 70% of stable owners are 50 years or older. But this is now changing and Lightstone statistics reveal that 55% of recent buyers during the last year are under 49.”

Lew Geffen, chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says that another reason investors are drawn to Tokai is the lifestyle it offers.

“Tokai is a tranquil, lush, green tree-lined suburb and residents enjoy the same comfortable, upmarket lifestyle as in Constantia with access to the same amenities, but at a lower cost.

“Several of Cape Town’s top schools, including Reddam, the American International School, Waldorf and Wynberg Boy’s and Girl’s Junior and High Schools are all nearby and there are also excellent medical facilities in the area.

“There is also a wide choice of restaurants and cafes as well as wine farms and the Blue Route Mall, Steenberg Shopping Centre and Constantia Village are all within short driving distance. Residents also enjoy a wide array of recreational and outdoor facilities on their doorstep, including several mountain biking and hiking trails in the Tokai forest and access to two top golf courses.”

Visser adds that another key factor that buyers find appealing is the strong sense of community in the suburb, with a committed neighbourhood crime watch infrastructure that has dramatically lowered crime in the area.

“Tokai is known for its safety, cleanliness and neatness with well cared for verges and lush environment; a small pet friendly suburb with a strong and caring community spirit where people look out for and after each after.