Stellenbosch Students Choose Secure Living Near Campus
Stellenbosch University students adding to the ‘varsity town’s hustle and bustle with their lively conversations and teasing laughter are happy to be back on campus. Particularly those, it seems, who have grasped the opportunity to test their independence in an environment geared to support them as they learn, grow and thrive.
That’s the finding of a ‘spot survey’ by Pam Golding Properties’ Stellenbosch office of several of the first young adults on campus to settle down in hostels, apartments, or ‘digs’ ahead of 2022 classes resuming.
Feedback from students included the following comments:
“The opportunity to make your own choices and test your boundaries is the greatest appeal of living on campus,” says one.
Another says that many young adults can’t wait to get into their own space and experience independence for the first time after their school careers end. Living away from home while studying at university is one of the ways to gain this freedom.
“Taking full responsibility and making our own decisions – rather than relying on mom or dad – for our own timetables, grocery shopping and meals, accommodation and its cleanliness, and laundry among other things, is how we can take responsibility and find out what skills we have and what we are really good at,” adds another.
Another attraction highlighted was the benefits of being within walking or cycling distance of the university’s facilities, as well as the face-to-face academic support.
“It is cheaper to live on or close to campus, especially when it comes to travelling. Social interaction and academic networking are also key factors because you meet so many new people. These are not critical for attaining a university qualification but they are part of the ‘varsity experience,” she says.
As a result of this desire to live on or close to campus, there has been no let-up in the demand for student accommodation in Stellenbosch, despite Covid-19.
According to Pam Golding Properties Somerset West and Stellenbosch area manager, Louise Varga, the need for easy access to classes, an opportunity to participate in student life, and the desire to live independently has by no means declined over the past 24 months.
Says Varga: “Regardless of the adjustments we have all made to our lives as a result of actions taken to limit the impact of Covid-19, students still want to experience the independence living on campus affords them, while their parents still realise that doing so is beneficial for their personal growth.
“Fortunately, there are a number of developments catering for students currently on show. Investing in one of these developments close to campus is a great way to ensure your child takes those first steps to independence and growth in a secure environment,” she says.
“It’s also a global phenomenon that residential properties in student towns achieve higher capital growth compared to the national average. There is always a strong demand for accommodation in this historic town.
“In fact, our office processed 140 new leases in one day, ahead of the 2022 study year. This confirms that an investment in an apartment in one of the developments in our portfolio will deliver considerable returns over the years.
“Another benefit of purchasing a unit is that it enables parents to secure accommodation for as long as their child needs it. We’ve seen an upturn in students wanting to lease the same unit for the duration of their course. However, renting does not guarantee year-on-year accommodation as, if the unit is sold for example, their rental contract may not be renewed,” Varga says.
Da Vinci, Deo Gloria, 17 on Cluver and Archimedes are student-only developments taking every aspect of a student’s lifestyle into account and because they are semi-furnished, they ensure hassle-free accommodation from the outset.
These four developments offer features such as internet connectivity, laundry room or bi-monthly laundry service, weekly cleaning service, 24-hour manned security, remote control access gates and alarms in each unit.
Da Vinci is a contemporary three-storey, 41-unit development with home-from-home accommodation and extra communal areas creating the perfect environment for both study and leisure activities. Its hallmark feature is a roof-top communal braai area claimed to have ‘the best view in Stellenbosch’. Prices range from R1.825 million to R3.995 million.
Deo Gloria comprises studios, lofts and two or three-bedroom apartments, priced between R1.55 million and R3.65 million, and centrally situated on the Green Route on Cluver and Merriman Roads, within walking distance to campus and patrolled by security guards on foot and bicycles. With its beautiful gardens and prime location opposite the tranquil Jan Marais Park, a pristine nature reserve, it offers the perfect environment for both study and leisure times.
Another development, 17 on Cluveralso enjoys beautiful Stellenbosch views and a natural ambiance from its sought-after position on the Green Route. Each of its semi-furnished units – priced from R1.58 million – has been designed to maximise the space to ensure that students’ accommodation needs are met. Outdoors, the garden has a swimming pool and three braai areas, perfect for a relaxed but secure time-out from studying.
Archimedes is situated opposite the university’s world-renowned Engineering Faculty and comprises studio and two-bedroom formats priced from R1.85 million to R3.5 million. With comprehensive security systems and green structures in place, it offers a secure, eco-friendly lifestyle.
Other developments marketed by Pam Golding Properties include Bosmans Club and The Niche, which are not student-only buildings but include apartments with more than two bedrooms, making them ideal for students’ parents to use when visiting, as well as broadening the rental appeal when the student graduates and moves away.
Adds Varga: “As some downscale their accommodation for life choices, rather than financial reasons, mixed-use residential developments that offer desirable amenities, like Bosmans Club where prices range between R2.215 million and R3.4 million, are becoming increasingly sought after. Its contemporary apartments are also ideal for first-time buyers, young professionals, or post-graduate students looking to live in a trendy, vibrant area.”
The Niche is a new 51-unit development comprising bachelor, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments priced from R1.55 million to R3.055 million. Purposefully designed in a modern style, it is set within an established area of Stellenbosch and within walking distance of the university campus.
City Centre at Steyn City – the Future of Living, Right Now
Johannesburg, January 2022: Steyn City’s City Centre recorded outstanding sales during the fourth quarter of 2021, with more than a quarter of the first phase units (187) including a penthouse selling in the three months since the development’s launch in October.
Steyn City Properties CEO Giuseppe Plumari informs that sales across all properties – freehold stands, cluster homes and apartments – totalling a quarter of a billion rand – helped Steyn City secure the best performance in 2021’s quarter four since its launch in 2015. This achievement was made possible because the parkland residence offers a full spectrum of homes, positioning it to appeal to a broad market, with different lifestyle needs and price points.
Andrew Golding, Chief Executive of Pam Golding Properties, notes that the economy has also played a key role in driving sales to this extent. “In many cases, people have disposable income which they would, in other times, spent elsewhere. Since the lockdown affected spending patterns dramatically, many have been able to change their living environment for the better.”
Of course, the impact of interest rates cannot be ignored: at a record 25-year low, 2021 was one of the busiest years experienced by the residential property market.
Plumari, meanwhile, is pleased by the market’s response to the new City Centre development: “When we started planning the City Centre, our intention was to create a very special way of life, facilitated by a development that offered facilities of a standard as yet unseen – our recently launched Ultimate Helistop and 300m beach-style lagoon are both cases in point. The unparalleled calibre of the development explains the rapid uptake of the homes – but I think that a large degree of the City Centre’s success may also be attributed to the new lifestyle ushered in by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Plumari is, of course, referring to the ‘semigration’ trend and the rise of Zoom towns. Although these are most commonly located in quiet villages – often in picturesque areas like the coast – Steyn City’s location speaks directly to the common desire to live somewhere peaceful and scenic. Unlike many other Zoom towns, it has the added benefit of offering proximity to key urban infrastructure, such as the Fourways super-regional mall, Lanseria International Airport, and midway between Sandton, Midrand and Pretoria. Says Plumari, “The fact that we no longer have to commute into work is a significant driver in this regard. It’s changed the way we think about where – and how – we want to live.”
In pandemic times, that ‘how’ most often means feeling safe. Obviously, it helps to have a comfortable – in fact, downright luxurious – home and the City Centre certainly fits this bill, with one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom homes, a selection of double storey three and four-bedroom homes including features like private study, separate TV lounge, guest cloakroom, internal private lift and butler’s entrance and homes in the sky (penthouses). It all adds up to a cocooning environment, with ‘home’ becoming a pure pleasure – and the fact that it can be enjoyed with complete peace of mind enhances that ambience. The City Centre’s security measures include triple biometric access, which is additional to Steyn City’s round the clock foot patrols and 24/7 nerve security hub. Throw in the fact that each home is maintenance-free, and it’s easy to understand the appeal.
Plumari adds that, long before Covid lockdowns and the advent of remote work, Steyn City had already put in place infrastructure that negated the need for long periods in the traffic. The AAA-grade offices at Capital Park and the Steyn City School campus are a case in point. The existence of other outstanding recreation facilities speak further to another trend brought about by the pandemic: When you are living and working in the same space, convenience is critical; as is efficiency. Features like fibre to homes answer the latter, while the extensive parkland on which the City Centre is located means that residents have 2 000 acres of space to wander and explore. This sense of space has been highly valued by residents, Plumari observes, as the feeling of restrictedness has played a large role in the development of issues around mental wellness. “Our homemakers appreciate being able to roam in a place where they know they are safe and can breathe – a priceless asset in today’s times,” he says.
Golding is confident that property industry’s upswing will continue into 2022, and remains optimistic about the outlook for the future of both the country and the property industry.
Plumari shares his positive attitude. “I think that our offering plays directly into what people are looking for – our extensive security measures are a case in point. But so too is the City Centre way of life. Our beautiful homes at City Centre can be compared to the condominiums so popular in the United States: although they have the maintenance-free appeal of a small home, they are exceptionally spacious, with their exteriors belying the size and volume of what you’ll find beyond the front door. This is precisely what our market is looking for.
“We are excited to see what this year brings following the success of the launch of Phase 1 of our City Centre and the confidence in South Africa: construction of phases two and three has already commenced and is expected to be complete by the end of 2024,” he concludes.
Faster-selling houses a sign of a booming property market, says Leadhome
“South Africa’s property market came roaring back to pre-Covid levels in 2021 and this momentum will continue into 2022, with the fourth wave not likely to have any impact on the current upward trajectory.” Says Marcél du Toit, CEO of fixed-fee estate agency Leadhome Properties.
This bullish sentiment was reflected in a dramatic decrease in the average number of days taken to sell a home across the country’s major centres between 2020 and 2021. According to Leadhome data, properties in Pretoria took an average of 44 days to sell in 2021, down from 131 days in 2020. Similar trends were seen in Durban (49 days, down from 119), Johannesburg West (54 days, down from 86 in 2020) and Bedfordview/Edenvale, where properties sold almost a month faster than in 2020 (59, down from 81).
In Cape Town, which has benefited from a surge of ‘semigration’ from Gauteng to the coast in recent months, average days to sell dropped from 105 days to 77, while in Johannesburg North, properties currently take an average of 86 days to sell, compared to 121 days a year ago.
“This indicates that despite headwinds such as load shedding, petrol price increases and entering a cycle of interest rates increases, the property market is in ‘an extremely positive place’, with sales in October alone up 50% on the previous year”, says Du Toit.
“We saw a big bang in June of 2020 when the market reopened, followed by a long and steady growth period, and then a dramatic acceleration in October and November with an equally strong December. Now, activity in the big metros is pretty much back to pre-Covid levels, and banks are still lending aggressively, with average bonds in October 2021 at 0,2% below prime,” says Du Toit.
The average offer value countrywide is currently in the R1.5 million range, showing a slight decrease over the second half of 2021. However, the market is seeing renewed confidence in property as a long-term investment and a vehicle to not only build wealth, but improve wellbeing, with many people still working from home, and a growing number working hybrid.
“South Africans are seeing the value in buying property again. They’re feeling more secure in their jobs and their incomes, and as business has become more sustainable, it’s removed the ‘fear factor’ from investing. We’re confident that despite the fourth wave, the first quarter of 2022 will be an exceptionally busy period on the property market, as always,” says Du Toit.
In this note, we continue with the 4th quarter 2021 results of our FNB Commercial Property Broker Survey, which surveys a sample of commercial property brokers in the 6 major metros of South Africa, i.e., City of Joburg and Ekurhuleni (Greater Johannesburg), Tshwane, eThekwini, City of Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Bay.Focusing on the key drivers of movement and sales activity in owner-serviced properties, the survey results show financial pressure to still be by far the biggest single driver. Nevertheless, the latest quarterly reading pointed to a slow continuation of the declining trend, a sign that financial pressure is gradually alleviating as the economy slowly recovers from the deep lockdown-driven recession of 2020.
We ask respondents for their perception of the major drivers of “movement and sales activity” in the Owner-Serviced Property segment. They estimate the percentage of movement and sales that they believe would take place for a particular reason. The total percentage of all the reasons can add up to more than 100%, because businesses can be selling or relocating for more than one reason. It isn’t an exact science, therefore, but gives a broad picture, and what comes out of it yet again is that by far the highest percentage of owner occupiers are still perceived to be selling or relocating influenced by financial constraints/pressures, i.e., 51.15% in the 4th quarter 2021 survey. This is only slightly down from the previous 54.3%, but more noticeably down from the post-hard lockdown peak of 65.3% reached in the final quarter of 2020.
The level of financial pressure-related selling thus continues its improving (downward) trend.
•Levels of upgrade-related selling also point to an improving financial environment
Also possibly reflecting financial constraints, sales in order to relocate to “bigger and better premises” remain lower than pre-lockdown 2019 levels at 16.2%, the pre-lockdown 1st quarter of 2020 having recorded an 18.4% estimate. However, this motive too has shown some improvement from the previous quarter’s 13.0%. This percentage has been significantly lower since the start of hard lockdowns in the 2nd quarter of 2020.
It had admittedly already declined in prominence as economic and financial times toughened prior to COVID-19 lockdown, but then declined far more noticeably in the 2nd quarter of 2020, to an 8.2% low, as lockdown caused the recession to go far deeper. The most recent percentage of 16.2% thus resembles a considerable improvement from the lockdown period, but perhaps still a more constrained financial environment compared to pre-lockdown days.
•Relocating to properties closer to the market starts to increase in priority
A further key reason for selling, which may reflect both current financial pressures on businesses as well as risk aversion due to uncertainty regarding the economic future, is the estimated percentage of sellers selling to move closer to their market. This percentage rose for the 1st time in 4 quarters, to record 23.9% in the 4th quarter 2021 survey, up from the prior quarter’s 20%.
The level remains low, however, when compared to the 36.3% recorded at the beginning of 2019.
Relatively low estimates regarding this motive for selling in 2021 suggested a “wait and see” approach by an increased portion of aspirant sellers, compared to prior years. While it may often make sense to incur the cost of relocation closer to one’s market, in weak economic times less relocating and more “staying put” for the time being is the likely outcome. However, the latest survey’s increase may just point to the start of a more confident approach by owner occupiers in this regard.
•Coastal metros appear to “outperform” Gauteng metros on average in terms of (lower) financial pressure-related selling.
Examining where, by region, the greatest level of financial pressure-related selling or relocation is perceived to be, Gauteng appears on average to have higher (worse) readings due largely to Tshwane region. Tshwane was the highest in the 4th quarter 2021 survey at 78.5% of sellers, while Greater Johannesburg was a significantly lower 52%.
Of the 3 coastal metros, the highest (worst) percentage was recorded by Cape Town, i.e., 47%, eThekwini 38.3%, and Nelson Mandela Bay the lowest percentage of 28%.
Conclusion – Financial pressure continues to ease, but remains “elevated” compared to pre-lockdown levels
The 4th quarter 2021 FNB Property Broker Survey points to financial pressure amongst property owner-occupiers remaining higher than pre-lockdown times, but it did point to the continuation of a recent improving trend. The improvement comes on the back of an economy slowly “normalizing” its activity as lockdowns have been gradually eased.
However, the fact that the survey still points to financial pressure levels being higher than pre-lockdown levels is reflective of an economy that is still not quite 100% “normalized” following lockdown. A portion of the production capability of the economy shut down permanently during the severe recession of 2020, and replacement for that capacity takes a while to return. So, as at 2021, Real GDP (Gross Domestic Product) was not yet back to 2019 levels, implying a still-tough environment for many businesses.
Real Estate Investor Magazine started our journey in September 2007 when we launched our first print magazine at a time when print(and magazines) ruled the media landscape choice for readers and advertisers, alongside TV and radio who ruled the viewership roost.
Print magazines have become a diminutive for audiences who have lost interest in paying for print products that have moved to the Internet.
New technology is finding new and advanced applications as the costs and methods of content distribution intersects with audience demands. Magazines no longer feature on traditional advertiser media schedules as online started to grow their piece of the advertising pie significantly over the last 13 years.
Today REImag has completely transformed from a print magazine into an interactive digital magazine and online platform and now into the metaverse. The digitalisation shift to online and specifically content marketing and now metaverse has been significant.
What is Digitalisation?
Digitalisation is the process of converting information into a digital format. The result is the representation of an object, image, sound, document or signal by generating a series of numbers that describe a discrete set of points or samples. The real estate software sector has been the biggest beneficiary of innovative PropTech that has made an impact in the markets.
What is PropTech?
Property technology is the application and integration of information technology and platform economics to real estate markets. Some goals of real estate technology include reducing paperwork as well as making transactions quicker, more efficient, and more secure.
From print to digitalisation and real estate to ‘Proptech’ to the metaverse has taken a dramatic shift. The metaverse moment first started in 1992 with Neal Stephenson’s sci-fi movie called ‘Snow Crash’ with the idea of the convergence of physical, augmented, and virtual reality in an online space for people who wanted to escape the grim circumstances of a real world. Once a niche concept beloved of tech enthusiasts, the idea of a centralised virtual world, a “place” parallel to the physical world, has careened into the mainstream landscape this year.
In 2014 Facebook bought Oculus (manufacturers of VR headsets) for $2 billion. Mark Zuckerberg already predicted in 2014 that Facebook would move from a social media company to a metaverse company where people would share, “not just moments with friends online, but also entire experiences and adventures.”
The metaverse hype recently started gaining traction when Zuckerberg announced in October 2021 that the company he founded, Facebook, owners of social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, has been rebranded as Meta. And that they will have a new focus – to help bring the metaverse to life. Similarly, as REI is doing with you today.
Zuckerberg’s metaverse vision became public when he announced ambitious plans to build the “metaverse” — a virtual reality construct intended to supplant the Internet, merge virtual life with real-life and create endless new playgrounds for everyone. He promised, “You’re going to be able to do almost anything you can imagine.”
He says that “people don’t have to meet in physical spaces to be together, to feel present, collaborate or brainstorm. Meta envisions a future virtual world where digital avatars connect through work, travel, or entertainment like this and eventually using VR headsets. He also believes that the metaverse will even replace the internet as we know it. In fact, they are backing the initiative with tens of billions of dollars.
What is the metaverse
in most basic terms? Essentially, the metaverse is a Virtual- Reality (VR) space in where users can interact with a computer-generated environment and with other users (or their avatars). It is a highly immersive virtual world where people meet to work, socialise, play, shop and educate themselves.
SpatialWeb is one of the leaders in the metaverse developed by South African tech company Y-Dangle (owned by Eric Nienaber and Josh Fox). SpatialWeb is owned by US-based company Vatom Inc, but developed here in South Africa and is leading the metaverse space development charge. Nienaber says, “the metaverse is evolving fast at rate of knots on a daily basis as new functionalities are continually added to enhance and improve the space.”
Essentially, people working from anywhere can gather virtually on-demand in an immersive environment – as if in person. REI have already hosted 4 large conferences with over 500 people on SpatialWeb and now use the platform for business meetings instead of using the hackneyed static Zoom, Hangouts, and Teams technology which is causing ‘Zoom fatigue’ for remote workers.
The metaverse, and more specifically SpatialWeb, has a range of online 3D virtual environments in which people can play games, build things, socialise, work and even trade and earn crypto assets. Nienaber says it is difficult to define the metaverse as there are so many sub-sectors. At its core, the metaverse, also known to many as web3, is an evolution of our current Internet.
Interest in purely digital ownership has spiked dramatically, with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies making headlines. Virtual productivity platforms are growing too, with Facebook and Microsoft announcing new ways to collaborate online.
NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” and can technically contain anything digital, including drawings, photos, animated GIFs, songs, or items in video games. Non-fungible means it is individual. The opposite, fungible, has examples of crypto currencies like bitcoin or etherium. One bitcoin can be swapped for another – they are identical.
So, in crypto an NFT is a digital asset that exists on a blockchain (a record of transactions kept on networked computers). The blockchain serves as a public ledger allowing anyone to verify the NFT’s authenticity and public proof of ownership.
NFT’s are made by selecting the item, choosing your blockchain, setting up your digital wallet to transact, selecting your specific NFT marketplace such asOpensea.io, rarible.com, Axie Infinity.You then upload your file and final to start setting up the sales process to transact.
How SpatialWeb can add Value to your Business
The evolution of the web starteda static environment to a dynamic to semantic to spatial environment using VR and AR. SpatialWeb can be used by businesses in many ways and is applicable for events, gatherings, galleries, NFT campaigns, marketing and advertising, transacting and showcasing real estate, shopping and customer support, media, financial services, influencer, and fan engagement, discussion groups, meetups, religious practices, loyalty programs, museum and cultural tours, weddings, funerals, birthdays, lecturing, learning, classrooms, dating, therapy, and coaching to name a few.
Build your own 3D Metaverse REI provides the complete 3D build, customisation and optimisation of your branded virtual world, as well as technical support and training for your team. Don’t wait until it’s too late, join the Metaverse now.