Neighbourhood 10 NOVEMBER 2019
PROPERTY & LIFESTYLE
Street smart All the developments in the Florida Road Precinct has upped Durbanâ€™s pulse rate and offers several exciting opportunities, page 2 2
SUBURB FOCUS: FLORIDA ROAD PRECINCT
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10 NOVEMBER 2019
Florida Road Precinct Morningside’s Florida Road is not simply a road, it’s a precinct – a dynamic urban regeneration concept and the pulse of Durban’s active life. It even has its own app… WORDS: ANNE SCHAUFFER *Map not to scale
IMAGES: STEPHEN PILBROUGH, SUPPLIED & GOOGLE MAPS
t’s never static. Whether it’s a new retail outlet, an eatery, a building emerging from the ground – or disappearing into it – there’s a sense of energy and purpose, unique to this stretch. One of its joys lies in its history and architectural heritage, which has converted so well into a contemporary mixed-use landscape – it’s a microcosm of a modern city, where work nudges home nudges entertainment, bigger isn’t better, and brave is best. Jonny Friedman is CEO of Urban Lime, a commercial property regeneration
group with a successful history of urban renewal abroad and in South Africa and owns around 25 buildings in Florida Road. He describes themselves as “catalytic” developers. “We look for areas which have the potential to be great, but have gone out of fashion. We buy in clusters of buildings to make a dramatic impact. One of our direct objectives is to transform areas – and the perception of them – both from a local and visitor’s point of view and by making it so good that others want to be part of it.” Jonny continues, “With private-
sector urban regeneration changing the narrative about the city, the only way to make Florida Road stand out is with City intervention.” And that’s what’s happening. “There’s a scheme on the table, agreed to by the City, about various interventions to the streetscape and public areas, which will transform Florida Road from a good street, into a world-class one.”
left hand side, travelling up, is largely restaurants, eateries and bars. But there are plans for so much more, including additional retail, even an elegant piano bar and more fine dining. The concept of carving out interesting spaces in the back of buildings is gaining traction, and courtyards, retail outlets, squares and little lanes are being exposed and enjoyed.
From Jamieson and Mitchell Parks at the top of Florida Road, all the way down, an important goal is to increase the road’s walkability. Critical to the success of this, is the Florida Road Urban Improvement Precinct (UIP), where levies are paid by businesses for the UIP service, which includes security – vehicular, foot patrols and links to private patrols which manage local initiatives – cleaning and greening staff, communication between all members, general precinct management, and a branding initiative aimed at re-establishing Florida Road as a Durban icon.
There are a number of ageing residential apartment blocks along Florida Road, some of which have remained, others have been demolished to make way for new commercial property, and some of the heritage buildings exquisitely restored and repurposed, and rezoned.
There’s an overall vision both for the road and for specific sections of it. For example, below Gordon Road, travelling down, left hand side is largely nightlife. Above Gordon Road,
Mixed use is at the core. Two such buildings at various stages of the building/approvals/sales process are Montpelier Square, a series of luxury apartments with panoramic sea and city views, and a strong architectural heritage element thanks to the vaulted Victorian reservoir; and 2six2 on Florida Road, a contemporary residential building, with retail, offices, fine dining and other enterprises on the lower levels. Office space is key. Four of Urban Lime’s buildings have been converted into plug ‘n’ play offices, supplying around 100 spaces, with another 200 envisaged. They’re aimed at SMME and micro enterprises, with the simplest possible lease agreements, furnished or unfurnished, same day occupancy, and three straight rates for three different sizes, all with services. And they’ve been snapped up by the likes of entrepreneurs, creatives, and first business owners.
This stretch is rich in excellent education options, with government primary schools like Gordon Road Girls School, Durban Preparatory High School, and Livingstone Primary School within walking distance. So, too, private schools, like Clifton College (preparatory and high) and Curro Heritage House (primary to high). Just up one or other hill, are Morningside Primary School and top girls’ private schools Durban Girl’s College and Maris Stella.
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Explore Public spaces are crucial to Florida Road, as they are to any successful urban regeneration project. The walkability of Florida Road refers to the vision for the road, where from top to bottom, every few steps, there’d be something to see, do or eat. Jonny believes the road needs considerably more than it currently has, particularly in terms of retail and quality public spaces and is currently engaging the City on the underutilised public space on the corner of Gordon and Florida. “There’s not enough to do in Gordon Road Park. Public space has to address two issues: how does it feel, and what do you do when you are there?” The vision includes a little amphitheatre with a massive screen for key sports games, free Wi-Fi, a giant eight-man table tennis table, underground parking and more. The City has numerous plans to assist with the road’s flow and walkability. They’ve removed the ratio of parking per restaurant, and construction on a turning circle at Lambert and Florida begins in the next few weeks. “Plans include reducing the traffic lanes to one each way throughout the whole street, interventions to the sidewalks to extend them outwards for more alfresco street-side dining, more pedestrian space, better lighting and street furniture. There’s also a vision to open up parking in parallel and linking adjoining streets, which would add 500 to 600 more bays, all with increased lighting and UIP presence.” Florida Fields, another Urban Lime project, towards the top end of the road, is proving a keen drawcard as a privately owned public space. Twenty retail tenants and around 3,000m2 of office space around convivial gardens, have come alive with people, music and eateries throughout the week. “Durban needs catalytic developments to woo and retain young people, as well as re-engaging with all those who’ve moved north,” Jonny says. How about a cable car? Oh yes. It’s a proposition being taken very seriously: a network of cable cars linking Durban’s key public spaces… The Point, South Beach, North Beach, and Florida Road. The sky really is the limit here.
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10 NOVEMBER 2019
STAY SHOP • Gorgeous: high-end fashion • Supreme: super-hip street wear, t-shirts, caps and accessories • House of Bravo: no-waste ecogrocery store • Cecile & Boyd: delectable decor • Elizabeth Gordon Gallery: art
• Quarters Hotel: luxe accommodation, dining and bar • The Benjamin: lovely old-school service in a 42-room boutique hotel setting with pool and courtyard • Bon Hotel 64 on Gordon, Gordon Road: 35 comfortable rooms • Lembali Lodge, Montpelier Road: upmarket guest lodge
• Charlie’s Bistro and Café: opposite Mitchell Park • Spiga D’Oro: new home for Spiga, opposite Mitchell Park • Jack Salmon: seafood and steaks at Florida Fields • Bird & Co: roast chicken everywhich-way • Seed and Glamwich: healthy dining options at Florida Fields • Two & A Half Men: purportedly the best Hilal Bunny Chow in Durban • Barn Owl, Florida Fields: little permanent pop up for coffees • Lupa Osteria: Homemade pasta and thin-crust, wood-fired pizza • Istanbul: newly opened Turkish dining • Roti & Chai: a market favourite opens their first permanent tea spot • Drop-Kick Murphys: one of the oldest operators on the road, great burgers • Republic: grass-fed beef burgers • Paul’s handmade ice cream: Nutella, Oreo and a whole host of innovative flavours • Bohemian Beach Bumz: cannabisinfused coffee, juices and edibles • Romano’s ice cream: gelato and creative desserts • Love Coffee: wonderful little coffee shop with alfresco seating • Sugarlicious: macaron ice-cream sandwich parlour • Scoop: Ice cream made with all local dairy • Charlatan: specialist cocktail bar with light dining options • Falafel Fundi: at the bottom of Florida with wonderful falafel • Dukka: elegant fine-dining restaurant
10 NOVEMBER 2019
Grow and multiply You can make your investment work smartly by remortgaging cleverly or growing your property portfolio by using only one bond. Here’s how. WORDS: MIRIAM MANNAK
esidential property is regarded as the Holy Grail of investment. But how can buyers make their purchase work for them financially to make the most of their investment?
Clever bond financing
Investors can eventually buy two low- to medium-cost properties with one bond while keeping repayments low and paying off the mortgage quicker, says Just Property Invest sales manager Pieter Piek. He says a R1m flexi or access bond typically involves repayments of about R9,800 a month for 20 years. However, a paying tenant in your property can change this. If their rental income covers the bond repayments, you could increase your payments by R5,000. “The bond will be paid off in less than half the time,” says Piek. Because flexi or access bonds allow you to withdraw money, you could take out the excess after five years to buy a second property at R500,000 without a new bond. Piek says this unit should achieve a rental income of R4,500, to be put towards your original bond. “This means you now have two properties paying off one bond and you still have 15 years left in which to pay it off.”
Save, save, save
Put bonuses, 13th cheques, tax rebates and other windfalls into your bond. “This allows you to pay back more than just your monthly repayment rate,” says Mike Greeff, CEO, Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate in SA. “The increased payment paired with any potential cash injections could cut your bond period by up to five years.” Defaulting on payments negatively impacts on your credit score and opens the door to added interest and potential charges on returned debits, Greeff warns.
Remortgage, don’t sell
While it may seem attractive to sell a home that is appreciating fast, capital gains tax payments on the profit need to be considered. Remortgaging your home or using your property’s higher value to obtain a larger mortgage, may be a better alternative.
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“This is called releasing equity,” says IP Global head of Africa George Radford. “This lump sum can be used to diversify a portfolio or invest in new properties in different markets to mitigate risk – each with their own mortgage.”
Beware of a bargain
A bargain may become a rip-off due to unforeseen renovation bills, which can impact on bond repayments. Piek’s advice is to buy newer units. “You might pay a little more but you’re getting new geysers and know that the plumbing and wiring have been done recently.”
QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE SIGNING • Buying property to let requires an investor’s mindset free of emotion. The perfect investment location is an area with high rental demand and may not be your own preferred location. • The low- to mid-end market has a higher demand for rentals than the upper end. Entry-level residential properties almost always appreciate in value faster. • Set up an emergency fund for unexpected costs not covered by insurance. • When purchasing to let, calculate the potential yield of the property (the annual rental income minus expenses, divided by the price of the property) and compare it to the yield of other rental properties in the area. • Do a comparative marketing analysis of the area. Make sure your rental income covers your monthly repayments and that you can afford potential shortfalls. • Find an experienced management agent to find the right property, an approved tenant, manage rent collections, and take on maintenance issues. • Be aware of all legal aspects and capital tax implications.
Source: Maryke Beyers, property investor consultant and attorney
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10 NOVEMBER 2019
Win the mind games We look at the psychology of pricing and six myths that prevent a property sale WORDS & IMAGES: SUPPLIED
lthough improving, the property market remains largely favourable for buyers while sellers have to compete for the limited pool of buyers in a market which is generally still overstocked. While pricing is important in any market, it’s especially so in this market, says Samuel Seeff, chairman, Seeff Property Group. He says any property sale involves competing interests. Firstly, that of the seller who wants to achieve the highest possible price and, secondly, the buyer who wants to pay the lowest possible price. Since the listing process starts with the asking price, the seller will often think that setting the price at the highest possible level will get you better offers closer to the desired price. In reality, says Seeff, there’s simply no evidence that shows a higher asking price will result in a higher selling
price and actually has the opposite effect by putting buyers off from the outset. There’s a psychology to pricing and the consumer’s mindset about price can make or break a sale. A New York Times report states that “in a market where buyers and sellers circle one another warily, each certain that he or she is being taken advantage of, no matter what the conclusion of a deal, the asking price of a property is rarely a straightforward reflection of comparable values”.
In this climate, says Seeff, the role of an experienced local area agent becomes pivotal as they know the area, what’s on the market and what has sold and for how much. With their eye on the market and their nose to the ground, such an agent will offer guidance to ensure that your property is not standing out like a sore thumb with an outof-kilter price, but that it’s also not competing at the same price level as every other property on the market.
It says that sellers often start at a point which equates to “wishful thinking” and even when the seller and agent finally reach a point of consensus, it’s often still slightly above the ideal price level. Buyers on the other hand, simply love a bargain and will always look to deconstruct the price, not just in terms of how it represents fair value, but they’ll actively look for vulnerabilities.
Setting the price at the right level can mean the difference between getting a quick offer and drawing little interest which may result in having to drop your price to get an offer. Seeff says there are many pricing myths which can stand in the way of a successful sale and highlights six of the most common misconceptions.
A high price leaves room to negotiate Nope, Seeff says this is a weak strategy which will have the opposite effect. Today’s buyers are informed and aware of market conditions and prices. They’ll simply overlook an overpriced property in favour of those which are correctly priced. This could mean that you may have to make price cuts which in turn could attract bargain hunters rather than serious offers.
The news says the market and prices are up With so much written about the market, often by people who are not local experts, it’s easy for sellers to get caught up in the hype of rising prices. Many sellers also look at the property portals which are generally overpriced. It’s best to trust your agent who will use local area sales to advise on the appropriate asking price.
Let’s wait for a better offer Research has shown that the first offer is often the best as it’s based on the value that buyers attach to the property. Sellers tend to be sceptical at first, thinking that the buyer is trying to make a quick bargain buy. If it’s a fair offer, you should always consider it. There are no guarantees that another offer might come along, especially in this market.
A quick offer means the agent priced too low
Renovations and improvements will get a higher price Renovations do not equal a higher price. While some improvement of an older property may well be advised, you should take care not to overspend and overcapitalise. Always consult a local agent and do a “cost versus value” analysis before embarking on renovations.
Not at all, says Seeff. The objective of selling is to get a good offer as quickly as possible. Receiving an offer soon after listing means that the property is on the market at the right price to attract buyer interest. If you appoint a credible agent, they will not risk their reputation on giving you incorrect pricing advice.
Reducing the price will entice bargain hunters While no seller or agent would want to be in this position, there may come a time when it seems that the market is just not reacting to a particular asking price. In such an instance, if you need to, or are motivated to sell, your agent may advise a price drop. Remember, time is money and the longer your property is on the market, the more it costs in bond repayments, utility costs and so on. Lowering the price could even result in a better offer.
10 NOVEMBER 2019
The estate of choice for parents with schoolgoing children
estled in the heart of Irene and conveniently situated just off the N1 highway lies the sought-after Southdowns Estate. Michelle Nieuwoudt, an agent with Seeff Centurion, says Southdowns is marketed as “a life less hurried”, and even though this is exactly what it offers being far enough from the city’s hustle and bustle, it’s still within close proximity to all the important activities, amenities and places of employment. “Situated less than 3km from the Centurion Gautrain Station,
Southdowns appeals to many different people. The estate is popular especially among professionals who enjoy farm living, but who still need to be close to the fast pace of the city.” Nieuwoudt says young professionals and graduates who are planning families are a big portion of recent buyers in Southdowns. “The estate appeals especially to young families and those planning families soon – not only because of the high-quality schools within the estate, but also because Southdowns offers a safe and friendly environment to raise a family.”
Living in the estate when your children attend a school here, is a big bonus as working parents save both time and money when they don’t have to arrange au pairs or transport for their children. Children can walk to and from school within the estate. The pasture, Irene Dairy Farm, as well as the Irene Country Club (social membership for the whole family is included in the levies) are also on your doorstep and the estate offers direct access via walking, golf carts and cycling to all these, based on a fingerprint system.
Cederberg Estate aimed at first-time homebuyers
According to developer Craig Myburgh of V Spaces, Cederberg Estate is designed to assist qualifying first-time buyers onto the property ladder.
With prices for a studio apartment starting from only R650,000 including transfer costs, the developers aim to address the ever-increasing shortage of affordable residential property developments close to work, schools, transport nodes, shopping centres and other amenities in and around the Cape Peninsula.
“First-time homebuyers can start their first chapter with peace of mind, knowing that their kids can play in a safe environment in the estate’s play park and landscaped gardens. The estate will also offer a clubhouse and swimming pool where residents can socialise around the braai areas and pizza oven, creating a feeling of community. Furthermore, the fynbos-cladded slopes of Simonsberg are a beautiful backdrop to come home to every day, with fresh air and open spaces in the Winelands. Everything one needs to lead a fulfilling life,” Myburgh says.
Spaces, a subsidiary of VDMV Property Group, has launched Cederberg Estate, which will offer 192 units on completion. Situated on the urban edge of Kuils River adjacent to the Mooiberge Estate on the Bottelary Road, the new development is only 20km from Stellenbosch and within easy access of the Brackenfell, Tygerberg, Bellville and Durbanville business hubs.
New-generation retirement in Century City to be launched
he tremendous success of Oasis Luxury Resort, where all 375 apartments were sold ahead of completion, was an indication of Century City’s potential as a sought-after retirement address. Residents praise the lifestyle they enjoy – a perfect blend of modern comforts with the serenity and easy access to nature. Oasis Life Century City will rise along the water’s edge of the old Ratanga Junction site, a unique design and lifestyle retirement offering that stands tall and proud as a series of four residential towers that forms a
wonderful bookend to the southern boundary of the newly-designed Ratanga Waterfront precinct. The choice of location was well considered to ensure that due to its scale, the development would have optimum orientation and views facing north over the reimagined and rehabilitated Ratanga Park that it will overlook. The new large body of water will connect to the extensive network of existing canals that flow throughout Century City. Residents will be able to enjoy the lush greenery of the gardens around
Oasis Life, which meet the banks of the water. Smaller islands and a large new green park will be visible across the water, which will include additional habitats for the exceptional bird life that’s already established in Century City, as well as a new recreational destination for residents and visitors. Phase one, with construction commencing next year, will consist of 62 luxury apartments ranging between 81m2 to 165m2, and one-, two- and three-bedroom options. Each apartment will have a north-facing balcony which will be partly screened for privacy and wind protection.
LAUNCHING 21 NOVEMBER
For an invitation to the launch,register on www.oasislife.co.za