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Cape Town's foreign buyer hotspots and top prices paid for luxury homes

21 Oct 2019

A pickup in domestic and international tourism over the summer season should lift demand from foreign and holiday home buyers.

This three bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom apartment in Camps Bay, Cape Town, offers a large terrace, plunge pool and is close to the beach. It is selling for R23.5 million - click here to view.

This is according to Ross Levin, managing director for Seeff Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl, who says that mid-year news reports quoting Cape Town Tourism chief executive, Enver Duminy state that arrivals are up and the city expects a good tourist season. A welcome return of holidaymakers from abroad will no doubt bring increased demand from foreign buyers who are spoilt for choice in the Cape this year.

Enquiries usually pick up from around this time of year with sales tending to peak in the December to April period. For the first time in years, there is more stock across the Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl, while prices have remained flat and the currency conversion rate remains favourable for foreign buyers.

You can, for example, find luxury sea view properties in the best location in the country from EUR1.1 million (around R18 million) for a luxury Camps Bay townhouse or fabulous villa in Fresnaye.

This apartment in Camps Bay, Cape Town, has four bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms, a rooftop pool deck and spacious entertainment areas. It is on the market for R25 million - click here to view.

A superior penthouse overlooking the ocean in Bakoven is just EUR1.5 million (R25 million) and an apartment in one of the best complexes in Bantry Bay with a private splash pool and direct beach access is just EUR2.1 million (R33.95 million). A rare bungalow with access to Clifton’s 1st and 2nd beaches is available for EUR2.3 million (R37.5 million) and one of the best apartments in the country overlooking the Front Yacht Basin at the Waterfront for EUR3.1 million (R4.9 million).

Propstats data of foreign buyer activity across the Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl for the six-year period from 2013 to 2018 and 2019 to end of August reveals that the city remains a top choice, attracting buyers from over 40 countries and every continent, says Levin.

Over this period some 917 properties worth a combined R6.83 billion were bought by foreign buyers representing 18% of the value of all sales for the Atlantic Seaboard and 9.5% for the City Bowl. Volumes peaked in 2014 to 2016 with the highest concluded in 2014 (206 units at R1.2 billion) and the highest percentage of 19.76% in 2016 (180 sales at R1.56 billion).

This three bedroom, three-a-and-a-half bathroom apartment in Waterfront, Cape Town, offers a large wraparound terrace, communal pools and gym, and mountain views. It is selling for R39.995 million - click here to view.

Foreign buyers spent more on a per capita basis which is a notable injection for the local economy and fiscus (given the higher property taxes generated).

He says further that aside from the initial property taxes, fees and commission, foreign buyers often spend further on renovating and furnishing the properties, injecting further economic benefits.

Suburbs with the highest number of foreign buyers

The highest volume of sales was in the Cape Town CBD (147 units) and Sea Point (133 units), both high density apartment areas offering accessible pricing in the R1.8 million to R3.8 million range and attractive Airbnb and rental investment prospects, says Levin.

This four bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom apartment in Bantry Bay, Cape Town, has an entertainment balcony and communal braai area. It is on the market for R8.5 million - click here to view.

In the high-end suburbs, Camps Bay tops the list with 124 units followed by the Waterfront (46), Bantry Bay (41), Clifton (31) and Fresnaye (30).

Prices paid

He says foreign buyers spent 46% more with an average transaction value of R7 452 563 compared to R5 119 061 for the areas as a whole over the 6-year period. The value spent is also 36% up since 2014 (when it was R5 825 243) reflecting the growth of Cape Town as a global leisure and property destination.

This two bedroom, two bathroom apartment in Sea Point, Cape Town, has a gourmet kitchen, study and balcony with ocean views. It is selling for R9.995 million - click here to view.

Highest prices achieved on the Atlantic Seaboard (based on the most recent)

1. Clifton - R80 million (Beaches apartment, UK buyer, 2017) and R73 million (Eventide apartment, Nigerian, 2016).

2. Bantry Bay - R290 million (Ocean View Drive home with adjacent plot, German buyer, 2016) and R27 million (house in Kloof Road, Batswana, 2019).

3. Fresnaye - R60 million (house in De Wet Road, German buyer, 2019) and R29.375 million (house in Ocean View Drive, Swiss, 2015).

4. Camps Bay - R37 million (house in Theresa Road, German buyer, 2016) and R36 million (house in Atholl Road, French, 2019).

5. Waterfront - R32 million (Parama apartment, Australian, 2014) and R23.94 million (Palgrave apartment, UK buyer, 2014).

Demographics/countries

European buyers remain the largest demographic at 65% with UK buyers topping the list at 2.6%, followed by German (16.5%) and Netherlands and France at 5.9% respectively. US comprise 8.2%.

This newly-built four bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom apartment in Clifton, Cape Town, offers a private pool, undercover patio with sea views and is close to the beach. It is selling for R39 million - click here to view.

Emerging trends include a recent decline in UK buyers while German buyers have increased.

Buyers from other African countries have also declined drastically to 7% in 2018 and less than 1% in 2019 compared to 19% in 2015. More buyers from the Middle East (such as the UAE) and Asia (such as Chinese) are now investing in property.

Levin says the positive elections outcome, dissipation of the water crisis, improvements in the visa regulations and direct US flights should boost visitors and property demand from foreign buyers.

Cape Town continues to trend in the top 20 global cities for capital value growth (measured during the 5 to 10 year growth period to 2017/8) and offers a superb lifestyle and value proposition as good as anything that you will find in Southern Europe.

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