The demand for student accommodation is high, and rising rapidly. While public universities and colleges try their best to close the huge gap between the demand for accommodation on their campuses and the available space in their residences, South Africa is also attracting higher numbers of foreign students.
Recent research by Jones Lang LaSalle, a real estate advisory firm specialising in leasing, tenant representation and property investment, has found that the number of young adults aged 18 to 25 will increase to almost 100 million by 2020, and that the demand for new purpose-built student accommodation is set to top 500,000 beds in the next five years.
So, if you’re looking to invest in an affordable property geared to students, Bill Rawson, chairman of the Rawson Property Group, offers this advice: ‘Look for clean, safe accommodation within easy reach of campus at an affordable price. In our experience, the most consistent demand is for newly built and pre-owned one- and two-bedroom sectional title apartments with high-tech security, parking and good access to shops and other amenities, as well as the campus.’
There is an ever-growing selection of properties in almost every town that has a university or college.
SALT is a stunning apartment block in Salt River, close to the CBD, with the campuses of Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and AFDA School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance just a short bus ride away. It consists of 184 apartments on nine floors, all with harbour or mountain views, within a mixed-use development that will include a coffee shop, gym and laundry. Security is state-of-theart, with CCTV coverage, biometric fingerprint scanner access control, and a cell phone-enabled intercom system for visitors. SALT is accessible to the MyCiTi Bus, Salt River Station, and a dedicated cycle track.
Each unit has its own balcony and a kitchen with oven and hob (SMEG or Bosch or similar). Units start at R1.29 million and, according to Craig Algie, sales agent for Seeff, they are ideally positioned to attract the investment market. ‘Rentals for a one bedroom unit are currently between R7,500 and R10,000 per month, so the return is very good,’ he says.
1 On Albert in Woodstock, the creative hub of Cape Town close to the University of Cape Town (UCT) and CPUT campuses as well as Groote Schuur Hospital, is a block of high-end micro apartments (from 21 to 48 square metres), semi-furnished with the latest in space-savvy SMEG appliances and technology. Completion date is early 2020, and sales have launched, with 30 studios still available, according to Byron Kruger of Dogon Group Properties.
Return on rental here is expected to be between R6,500 and R7,500 per month, in line with what students are paying in communes in the area, says Kruger. Thus it is an excellent option for both first-time buyers and seasoned property investors looking to expand their portfolios. It features 24-hour security and CCTV surveillance, biometric access control, secure basement parking (limited), a heated swimming pool, recreation area with braai facilities, super-fast fibre-driven Wi-Fi, DStv and Netflix streaming, and has retail tenants on the ground floor. Prices start from as little as R950,000.
The Yard, only 200 metres from the main entrance of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Auckland Park campus, is a sought-after complex with 130 student apartments. It is well managed and equipped with swimming pool, kiosk, clubhouse, laundry facilities, and an abundance of parking. It is fibreoptic ready, and has secure access control with an operational manager on site. It is fully walled with electric fencing and 24- hour patrolling guards. Rental for a two-bedroom apartment can fetch up to R9,000 per month, and sale prices are between R650,000 and R821,000.
One of the most popular student complexes is 28 Stanley in Milpark/Auckland Park, a short bus ride from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), and within walking distance of UJ. All units have sunny living areas that lead out onto balconies, and kitchens are all fitted with granite tops. It has secure basement parking, internet and DStv connectivity, along with 24-hour access control, security, laundry, and an on-site caretaker. Prices start at around R435,000, and you can get R6,500 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.
Bridgeview, in Braamfontein, is on all the main bus routes, and is a two-minute walk to Wits and other city colleges, as well as the Gautrain Park Station. The Bridgeview complex is kept immaculately clean and maintained, has a pool, laundry services, a secure parking area and 24-hour security. The units are open plan, spacious enough for a bed and sitting/study area, or alternatively two beds, so they’re ideal for sharing. They come with kitchenette (no appliances) and bathroom, and are partly furnished. A well-kept bachelor apartment fetches between R3,250 and R6,250 in rent per month, and sale prices here are as little as R480,000.
In Durban, close to the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and Durban University of Technology (DUT) campuses, is Morningside Village, a popular, well-kept condominium complex situated next to all the main bus routes. It has studios and two-bedroom units that are perfect for students or couples, and all have fully kitted-out kitchens with granite tops. It has 24-hour staffed gated access, prepaid electricity, a stunning communal pool and entertainment area, and undercover parking. Apartments here are selling for between R550,000 and R700,000, and you can fetch a monthly rental of R6,200.
Campus Terrace is a stylish development designed for students and/or young professionals. Situated in Hatfield, it is within walking distance of the University of Pretoria, sports grounds, the Gautrain Station, and various shops and restaurants. These bachelor/studio units with balconies consist of an open-plan, modern kitchen with a Defy two-plate hob, and a living and bedroom area with a separate bathroom with a shower. It has 24-hour security supported by electric fencing and alarm systems, as well as CCTV security cameras and biometric access at all the entrances. There is covered parking, and extras include fibredriven Wi-Fi, a laundry, and roof garden with braai facilities.
Electricity is prepaid, and the efficient, electricity-saving heat pumps coupled with hot-water meters cut costs as well as emissions. There’s even a standby battery system that kicks in in the event of a power failure. A one-bedroom unit sells for around R800,000, and a rental of R6,200 per month can be achieved.
Boschen Park is a well-managed and sought-after block of apartments close to the University of Stellenbosch, the Eikestad Mall and the centre of town. The units have modern finishes, including granite tops, Kelvinator stove and extractor fans, and feature balconies with sliding doors. Units on the ground floor have their own private patios, as well as a small communal lawn. The block has 24-hour security, electric fencing, remote controlled access, and secure open parking. For a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit, prices are around R1.8 million, with rentals averaging R10,200 per month.