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CT’s CBD drawing top dollar

09 Mar 2010
The urban regeneration that has been talked about in recent years is gathering momentum as residential properties in Cape Town’s CBD are being snapped up at top dollar, with some apartments being sold for more than R9m.

Mary Bailey, owner of Morning Star Properties, which specialises in inner city real estate, said the last five years, and particularly the last six months, have seen the area’s popularity sky-rocket. Sales in the previously deserted area are “unprecedented”, with apartment prices outstripping those of properties in surrounding neighbourhoods and fast approaching those of properties in the Atlantic Seaboard.

“It’s fascinating to see what’s happening here. Five years ago nobody wanted to think about living here. But there has been a huge capital injection in the area and it has become so safe and very vibrant. We are totally sold out, it’s totally unprecedented,” said Bailey, whose offices are on the newly gentrified Church Square, on the doorstep of Parliament and the Company Gardens.

She said properties were being bought by “high quality buyers” – professionals, foreign investors, and international students, looking for the larger spaces of old buildings. Despite rental prices reaching up to R18k and sales between R6m and R9m, she said the company receives daily enquiries. “It is becoming like any other big city, look at New York and London.”

A Rawson’s agent who wished not to be named said the flood of people into the city centre, which intensified remarkably in November last year, also had to do with a desire to save time and fuel by living closer to work. He said properties in the city were in such high demand that they are sold within two days of being put on the market.

Richard Paradise, an agent for Remax’s Atlantic Seaboard division, said although the coastal area was still the most popular, prices in the CBD were not much lower, and while last year was “very tough”, the R10m plus market had remained “pretty buoyant”.

Theodore Yach, property developer, founder member of the Cape Town City Partnership and chairperson of its Central City Improvement District, said the popularity that is evident now is not a sudden phenomenon, but the returns on investments made nearly two decades ago.

“What you are seeing now is a maturing of the market. The private sector invested about R25bn in the area and the public sector about R14bn. It was a huge investment and it’s taken 15 years to get here – although there is still a lot of work to be done,” said Yach.

“Cape Town is coming of age,” he said. – Caitlin Ross, West Cape News

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