Insider Secrets: Architects/designers

Oct 26, 2017 | Design and Decor

What is trending in the property market, what should homebuyers look for, and what can homeowners do to grow the value of their investment? We asked 15 experts, from architects to estate agents, for their opinion

 PROPERTY DEVELOPERS

NYIKO CHAUKE
MARKETING MANAGER, PROPERTUITY

WHAT TYPES OF DEVELOPMENTS ARE MOST IN DEMAND?

Units that are high in demand are studio, one- and two-bedroomed apartments, as they allow people to get a foot in the door with an entry-level investment.

HOW HAS THIS DEMAND CHANGED IN RECENT YEARS?

We have noticed that more young people are moving back into the city and investing there, whereas 10 years ago people were looking for property outside the city.

HOW DOES THE HOMEBUYER ENSURE THEY’RE MAKING A SECURE INVESTMENT?

By buying into a growing neighbourhood, investors will be able to unlock great value over a shorter period – as the area develops, so the value of the investment grows. This rate of growth is faster than it is in established neighbourhoods.

WHAT FEATURES AND FACILITIES MAKE FOR AN EASY SELL?

Great design in terms of facilities has been a strong selling point for apartments in Maboneng. Propertuity collaborates with well-known architects and artists on its developments. Another selling point is the community aspect. Residents here are part of a connected infrastructure – they are surrounded by theatres, coffee shops and restaurants, and they can work in the neighbourhood. Maboneng’s big focus on security is also a drawcard.

ANY OTHER TRENDS IN TERMS OF WHAT HOMEBUYERS WANT?

Currently, people are after convenience and technology. Fibre has become the norm.

RYK NEETHLING
MARKETING DIRECTOR, VAL DE VIE

WHAT TYPES OF DEVELOPMENTS ARE MOST IN DEMAND?

One of Val de Vie’s biggest successes is its broad offering, with options ranging from 25-plus-hectare farms to apartments. That said, our biggest market by volume is in luxury plot-and-plan homes built on 400 – 700m2 stands.

HOW HAS THIS DEMAND CHANGED IN RECENT YEARS?

Homebuyers tend to be overwhelmed by the sheer range of choices, as well as the prospect of having to appoint architects and builders, and make decisions about finishes. So in narrowing it down for them we offer convenience. We partner with well-known architects to draw up the plans. The buyer gets the house with a garden made, the braai built, even the washing line installed. No extras, no hidden costs.

HOW DOES THE HOMEBUYER ENSURE THEY’RE MAKING A SECURE INVESTMENT?

The property crash of 2008–2009 has made people do their homework now. The finances and minutes of estate homeowners’ associations are scrutinised, and so they should be. If the finances are in good health, if the property has a good location close to schools and amenities, and if all the infrastructure is in place, a buyer is halfway there.

WHAT FEATURES AND FACILITIES MAKE FOR AN EASY SELL?

For Val de Vie, security is our number-one priority. Lifestyle is important, as well as a sense of community. World-class facilities also help.

ANY OTHER TRENDS IN TERMS OF WHAT HOMEBUYERS WANT?

Sustainability is massive.

DAVID COHEN
MANAGING DIRECTOR, SIGNATURA PROPERTIES

WHAT TYPES OF DEVELOPMENTS ARE MOST IN DEMAND?

In Cape Town, City Bowl developments with good rental potential are becoming in line with the Atlantic Seaboard, but there’s still room for growth from an investment point of view. Smaller units with group amenities are great, because people can delegate the maintenance but still have access to facilities like a gym and a swimming pool. Hotel-type services or living above a hotel is the next wave.

HOW HAS THIS DEMAND CHANGED IN RECENT YEARS?

Size used to be paramount. These days it’s more about accessibility and proximity to amenities. It’s cheaper to have fewer square metres and rent a storeroom for the surf board and golf clubs.

HOW DOES THE HOMEBUYER ENSURE THEY’RE MAKING A SECURE INVESTMENT?

Who you buy from is important: Do they have a good track record and experience in developing the type of building you’re interested in? Are they aware of international design trends?

WHAT FEATURES AND FACILITIES MAKE FOR AN EASY SELL?

Hotel-type amenities are the next level up: valet parking, a concierge, and a well-equipped and -maintained leisure centre – not just a puddle and one treadmill.

ANY OTHER TRENDS IN TERMS OF WHAT HOMEBUYERS WANT?

A well-appointed kitchen with an island, if there is room, is always in demand. Indirect lighting through concealed LEDs and central air conditioning are also plusses.

 

LIOR VAN EMBDEN
SALES AND MARKETING MANAGER, BLOK

WHAT TYPES OF DEVELOPMENTS ARE MOST IN DEMAND?

Within our space, which is urban apartments, we see a variety of demand: from the space-smart studios right up to urban family homes. Across this spectrum, buyers are looking for a decent amount of outside space (private or shared), a view wherever possible and security.

HOW HAS THIS DEMAND CHANGED IN RECENT YEARS?

With property prices continuing to rise in Cape Town, we are seeing a lot of pressure being put on affordability. We are trying various things in response, such as compact apartments that challenge space on a design level. We are experiencing an influx of buyers from the rest of the country as demand for Western Cape property continues to rise.

HOW DOES THE HOMEBUYER ENSURE THEY’RE MAKING A SECURE INVESTMENT?

There are a few things for buyers to consider when buying off-plan specifically. First, who they are buying from. Buying a product that doesn’t exist yet requires trust in the developer, so an excellent track record is essential. Second, whether or not you plan to live in the home yourself, ask the questions, “Does the design make sense?” and “Does the building have all the desired amenities?” Not every apartment will tick all the boxes, but make sure it ticks the important ones.

WHAT FEATURES AND FACILITIES MAKE FOR AN EASY SELL?

If I had to narrow it down to the single most important aspect of a great apartment compared to a good apartment, it would come down to layout and design. Finishes can be changed over time, but the layout, the flow of an apartment, is a lot more difficult to change. As we always say, good design negates the need for more space. Then there are other factors that are growing in importance as we urbanise, such as walkability of your neighbourhood.

ANY OTHER TRENDS IN TERMS OF WHAT HOMEBUYERS WANT?

In apartment living, we have seen a trend toward duality of spaces. When you don’t have a room per function, spaces need to double up to deliver more functionality. We are also seeing the rise in popularity of shared spaces within a building. Apartment dwellers understand that if you cannot afford a large apartment, you need to look at your building (and neighbourhood) as an extension of your personal space.

MICHELLE CERRUTI
SECTOR MANAGER, SAINT-GOBAIN

WHAT TYPES OF DEVELOPMENTS ARE MOST IN DEMAND?

Homebuyers are looking for properties that offer flexibility (in how the space is used), efficiency (in terms of how it runs) and safety. With Stand 47 and now Stand 51 we’ve done extensive research and incorporated all these elements with the aim of designing a house that answers all a homeowner’s needs.

HOW HAS THIS DEMAND CHANGED IN RECENT YEARS?

More than ever before, the cost of living day to day, over time, in a house is as important a consideration as the initial purchase price. Would-be buyers are taking into account the running costs of a house, such as energy and water.

 

WHAT FEATURES AND FACILITIES MAKE FOR AN EASY SELL?

I think this is affected in large part by how futureproof the property is. Is the house or apartment designed for longevity, for flexibility as a family grows, and for the wherewithal to incorporate green systems?

ANY OTHER TRENDS IN TERMS OF WHAT HOMEBUYERS WANT?

The fact that the way people work is becoming more flexible means that many people want to be able to work from home, so having a room or a space that can double as a study is a factor.

Credits: Photos: Sarah de Pina, Riaan West, supplied, Text: Julia Freemantle