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Spotlight on Newlands

Spotlight on Newlands

Tree-lined streets, a peaceful village atmosphere and a plethora of chic cafés and delis are just the start of Newlands’ irresistible charm. Protected from Cape Town’s notorious southeaster by the forested slopes of Table Mountain, and with plenty of winter rainfall to encourage tall trees and lush gardens, it’s as close to nature as you can get in the city and yet it’s very central.

Residents love having Newlands forest so close; it’s the place to walk dogs every morning, run mountain trails, cycle with the kids, go foraging for mushrooms or take toddlers for wild adventures clambering around and over mountain streams, rocks and tree stumps. And the forest and its access to mountain trails is only a few steps from the M3, which conveniently keeps traffic away from the suburb and yet allows residents to nip into town or out to the airport in only 15 minutes.

Historically, Newlands grew up around several large estates and breweries taking advantage of the clear spring water and mountain streams flowing through the area. A wide variety of housing styles characterised the vibrant community as it developed over the last two centuries, from large houses and villas to workers’ cottages and terraced houses, and today’s Newlands reflects this heritage.

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Newlands’ village atmosphere is part of its charm

‘Newlands has a very representative community of all age groups, from young couples to retirees,’ says Pam Sorel, an independent estate agent who has lived in Newlands for many years. ‘There’s a real mix of property sizes, including apartments, starter homes, small cottages and large family houses, as well as security developments.’

With so many good schools in the area, it’s particularly sought-after by families, with SACS, Westerford and Sans Souci all in walking distance. Little Kildare pre-primary school has its own nature reserve on the banks of Newlands stream, with story time and environmental activities held on the banks each week. Other well-known schools in adjoining suburbs are Rondebosch Boys’ High School, Bishops, Herschel Girls’ School and Rustenburg High School for Girls.

However, you have to be quick off the mark to buy the perfect family home in Newlands. ‘The suburb is in high demand as the property sizes are manageable and family homes near schools are especially desirable,’ confirms Heather Turner of Pam Golding Properties. ‘There’s a shortage of stock which is driving the prices up.’

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On the banks of the Cannon River, this Gothic-style home (once a chapel) still has original features including pine ceilings and beams, stone walls and clover air vents. It’s on the market for R12m via Pam Sorel Properties

Some of the most sought-after property, according to Pam Sorel, is in the trendy area known as Newlands Village, around Kildare Road, very much favoured by the ‘swallows’ who come to South Africa from Europe for the summer. Here, prices per square metre are comparable to those in Clifton.

Heather Turner adds that Hiddingh is popular for medium-sized family homes, while Fernwood, which is closer to Kirstenbosch, is in demand for those looking for larger properties. A four-to five-bedroom house on Fernwood’s Thistle Street recently sold for R8 million, while a three-bedroom house in Lothian Road in the Vineyard area sold for R5,25 million.

‘In such an established suburb, there’s very little land available for new development, and what there is tends to consist of two or three townhouses built on the site of an old house that has been demolished or on a subdivision,’ says Pam Sorel, adding that an average townhouse currently sells for around R6 million.

With such an attractive lifestyle on offer, it’s not surprising that residents are predominantly owner-occupiers and rental property is at a premium, being snapped up as soon as it comes onto the market.

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This eight-bedroom heritage home is situated on close to 6 000m2 of park-like grounds with a small orchard. The Old Cannon Brewery (circa 1851) features yellowwood and teak parquet flooring, a grand staircase made from hand-hewn Table Mountain stone, deco fanlights and floor-to-ceiling windows. Price on application, Greeff Properties

To experience the essence of Newlands’ charm, stroll through the shady streets to the bottom of Kildare Road where a busy hub of stylish cafés attracts the coffee and lunch crowds. Melissa’s is a longstanding favourite, now joined by Cassis with its legendary macarons and patisserie, and Gogos for artisan biltong.

After school, kids and moms head to Dean Street where it’s a toss-up between frozen yoghurt with toppings at Wakaberry, decadently rich ice cream at The Creamery, or healthy juices and smoothies at Rootbar. And Montebello Design Centre is another regular meeting place, with various art studios and craft workshops producing cutting-edge design and gorgeous hand-made pieces.

There’s a very strong and active residents’ association, which was founded many years ago when the threat of development of the Foresters Arms restaurant and pub into a multi-storey hotel brought residents together to preserve the character and heritage of the area.

An ongoing campaign by the Friends of the Liesbeek River is to rehabilitate the river banks into a useable leisure space: a rustic trail runs along the banks of one section within Newlands and another has an atmospheric playground and park.

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Part of the attraction of the suburb for families with young kids is this strong community feel, with another charming park in Palmboom Road a focus for children’s birthday parties, playdates and an annual Halloween walk followed by a picnic.

And while we’re sharing best-kept secrets, the Newlands spring is where residents fill bottles with free spring water courtesy of Newlands Brewery, which uses this perfectly pure mountain water for its beer. Take your own glass bottles to fill at their collection point on the corner of Letterstedt and Main roads.

With its natural charm, varied architecture, convenience for schools, and easy access to both work and beautiful leisure spots, it’s no surprise that property in Newlands is so in demand.

‘Many Newlands homes are well over 50 years old, and the trend for families to remain in these traditional old houses for many years means that when they finally make their way onto the market, they’re snapped up’ – Mike Greeff, CEO, Greeff Properties.

Resident’s view

‘I’ve lived in Newlands for 21 years. I love all the trees and greenery, and that there’s no wind here. I go for a long walk in the forest every morning with friends and fellow dog-walkers, and you can just stroll down to one of the lovely cafés in the Village or to the Gardeners Cottage at Montebello for breakfast. It’s so central, midway between the city and the beach, and you can be at the airport in 15 minutes.’ – Pam Sorel, independent estate agent

Where to eat in Newlands

The Gardeners Cottage at Montebello for cosy breakfasts. Upstairs at Basilico for fantastic views and Italian food. Melissa’s opposite for the buzz. Cassis for the best macarons and sweet temptations. The Creamery (top) for luscious ice cream; Wakaberry for hip frozen yoghurt; Rootbar (above) for juices and smoothies – all in Dean Street. For fine dining, head to Myoga at the VineyardHotel. For pub food and atmosphere, Foresters Arms is the place. Best sushi is at the Sushi Box and the Vineyard Hotel.

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A sign outside The Creamery, a neighbourhood favourite

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Resident’s view

‘Newlands has a really vibrant atmosphere, with people walking to shops and restaurants and children playing in the parks. It’s like living on a postage stamp – everything you need is within a short walk or drive. I’m never stuck in traffic. There’s a festive vibe on Newlands sporting days, and I love walking from home to watch rugby or cricket with the children. And it’s wonderful having Newlands forest right there for walking and cycling.’ – Karen Newman, architect

Area spotlight: Newlands

Private Property gives a current snapshot of the Newlands residential property market

Demand Indicator Metrics
  • Sale Listings: Properties listed for sale in Newlands comprise approximately 4% of the total sale listings in the Southern Suburbs. Approximately 4% of the interest (views) in properties for sale in the Southern Suburbs is attributable to properties for sale in Newlands.
  • Rental Listings: Properties listed for rent in Newlands comprise approximately 12% of the total rental listings in the Southern Suburbs. Approximately 7% of the interest (views) in properties for rent in the Southern Suburbs is attributable to properties for rent in Newlands

 

Property Types
  • Sale Listings: As far as sales listings go, 77% of the residential property is houses, 19% apartments and 4% townhouses or clusters. A typical property for sale in Newlands is a four-bedroom house, currently with a median asking price of R7,65m.
  • Rental Listings: For those looking to rent in Newlands, you’ll have more choice if you’re looking for a house – 67% of the rental properties are freestanding homes, while 19% are apartments and the remaining 14% are townhouses or clusters. A typical property for rent in Newlands is a three-bedroom house, currently with a monthly median asking price of R31 000.

 

Median price by property type

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Currently the total value of residential properties listed on Private Property in Newlands is:

Sales R199,737m
Rental R1 112 295

Bond repayment calculation for a typical property in Newlands

The monthly bond repayment to purchase a typical property in Newlands, namely a four-bedroom house with a median asking price of R7,65m, is R70 063 per month over 20 years at prime of 9.25% with no deposit. As a comparison, the median asking rental for a four-bedroom house in Newlands is R55 500 per month.

Notes: The findings presented above used current market data as at 31 May 2015

Text:Kit Heathcock
Photographs:K Rose and supplied

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