The affluent real estate market in South Africa is vigorously competitive with over 60 estate agencies competing for sole mandates across the country. Buyers and sellers are looking for value-add, not only in the properties they purchase, but in the agency they choose to work with post-pandemic. Amazing Spaces Lifestyle Investments won’t be listing just any home, they guarantee a wow factor that sets them apart.
Freedom to work remotely from anywhere in the world has spiked local and global demand for larger investment properties; especially in South Africa, and with good reason. The country is famed for its exquisite landscapes, desirable climate, and notable wine regions.
As a prime destination for opulent living, South Africa has some of the world’s most sought-after real estate, but it appears buyers are now searching for something different. A new definition of luxury living has emerged and there appears to be more emphasis on design and the artistic expression of a home, exceptional outdoor space with views to match, innovative and sophisticated home offices that evoke creativity, and the quintessential features that reflect a buyer’s distinctive tastes.
International film locations company, Amazing Spaces, has paired film crews from all over the globe with the most sublime settings offered by South African properties since 2000. These locations are coveted by some of the world’s top photographers who naturally demand only the best. Responding to demand from clients over the years to purchase location properties, Amazing Spaces has expanded their offering and launched, Amazing Spaces Lifestyle Investments.
‘Our exclusive portfolio ranges from rare designer penthouses and celebrity homes to large private estates with unrivalled access to nature and adorned with some of the finest interior finishes. Our buyers are like the photographers we’ve worked with for so many years. They have an eye for the extraordinary and we have the homes to match,’ says Julia Finnis-Bedford, owner of Amazing Spaces and co-founder and director of Amazing Spaces Lifestyle Investments.
‘Timing’ as we say, ‘is everything’, and while the high-end property market has always intrigued foreign investors, the pandemic has made it even more desirable with low interest rates and excellent value for money.
‘We’ve carved out a niche within the sector and our efforts are focused on it. We have a network of potential buyers and sellers already in place and as the vaccine rollout gains momentum, we’re likely to see an even bigger surge in demand for this type of property long term,’ explains Andrew Dewey, director and co-founder of Amazing Spaces Lifestyle Investments.
‘Buyers seem to have become far savvier about home innovation and design and are looking for an ideal balance. We’re placing a lot more emphasis on how we train our sales staff who will need to understand the structural and technical functionalities of each home.’
‘We consider the properties we sell to be scarce resources and before listing a property we ensure they meet at least three of the following criteria: they must have some historical significance and tell a story; we look at whether the home was designed by a renowned architect; if it embodies any artistic architectural features worth noting; how technologically smart the home is; and of course its location,’ says Andrew.
The Work-Life Balance Evolution: Architectural Design Trends That Are Shifting The Real Estate Market
It seems that the work-life balance ideal is evolving and it’s going to take more than just a home office and good WiFi connection to achieve it.
Home offices are not new, however depending on the square footage of your home, it will either have an entire room dedicated to its use, or a nook that can be closed off. For the most part, home offices have always had to serve dual purposes.
The biggest trend driving the high-end property market now is the demand for holistic residential living spaces. These homes need to tick all the boxes in terms of an office set-up with indoor and outdoor spaces, perhaps with a separate entrance where staff and clients could visit for the odd meeting, as well as other amenities that offer comfort, style, and outdoor living where the family can bond after hours.
An exceptional view and location are also a top priority.
Amazing Spaces Lifestyle Investments, co-founder Julia Finnis-Bedford says, ‘Just a few years ago, it was the smaller, turn-key homes like a beach bungalow on Clifton 4th beach, or an old Victorian in Chelsea Village in Wynberg that were dominating sales and fetching astonishingly high prices. As beautiful as they are, working from home for these homeowners is just not practical. Therefore, they are opting for larger homes further away from the city centre and are using these smaller turn-key properties as second or even third weekend homes. What was once thought of as a home that offered a work-life balance is now just not, and the concept is in fact taking on a completely new definition.’
To balance it all, architectural designs are allowing for more space to be created between the house and the office, or through clever design incorporated into the home so that it is still quiet and serene yet professional enough to allow for a focused working environment separate from the family. Fitness is an important part of this balance, and so there needs to be gyms, yoga rooms, or even heated lap pools that offer the homeowner an opportunity to break away from the family and the office to workout.
Kitchens are another area of the home that people appear to be spending more time in. Working from home means more family meals spent together and far more use of kitchen appliances that can be left unpacked and on display in dedicated coffee stations or breakfast bars. More cooking and entertaining means larger countertops that open to the outdoors, with pizza ovens and bomas allowing for indoor and outdoor entertaining. Home cinemas and playrooms for both kids and adults are also in high demand.
‘With the larger properties, homeowners can have gardens, and this is where the balance part of the equation really lies, that many didn’t think was necessary in smaller properties. Being able to access the outdoors, and literally listen to the birds, or the wind blowing through the trees and taking time to stare into the distance and marvel at the surrounding beauty all day long, is the ultimate way to work and live. Which is why we think this trend might just be here to stay. I’ve heard clients say, they never realised just how much they were missing out on by working away from home. They can now appreciate their investment so much more and they’re willing to turn it into the property of their dreams because its where they’re spending so much of their time,’ explains Julia.
The biggest uptake for properties listed on the Amazing Spaces Lifestyle Investments portfolio in the Western Cape has been in the Constantia suburb of Cape Town. Set on the slopes of Table Mountain, the area is lush and green with lots of little streams, some of which run through the gardens of large properties. Nature is in abundance, so the properties there are ideal for those looking for a work-life balance.
Jane Visser Architects in Cape Town have been designing homes in this area for many years and has noticed the shift people are making due to the pandemic. She says, ‘I think we all realise the value of our homes and especially any outdoor space. But I don’t think we quite realised how important a connection to the outdoors was, even if it’s just being able to look through beautiful windows. It’s essential though with these new requests coming through, that we create spaces that don’t date, have a timeless appeal and that connect to the landscape. Flexible space in a home is certainly valued a lot more now, and while we all love the open-plan lifestyle around a kitchen, there is a need to have smaller spaces running off that.’
As for the future, Visser hopes that this new appreciation for nature and finding balance will translate into architecture being more about sustainability, informed material choices and regard for the values of good architecture: namely siting, respect for context, good proportions and light, consideration of weathering and maintenance and the comfort of the inhabitants.
Before the pandemic, many homeowners, had incredible spaces, but were underutilising them. Now with more time at home, every part of it and the outdoors is redefining the work-life balance.
Love Island Villa on the Market
Cape Town’s exquisite scenery and world class real estate has for years acted as backdrops for many international films, high fashion photo shoots and reality TV shows. Since then, demand for owning these properties has grown.
One such property currently on the market is the UK’s much adored Love Island Villa, perched at the top of a hill in the leafy suburb of Constantia. The1,347-square-metre super-modern four-bedroom, five-bathroom villa with pool and hot tub was formerly the staff cottage for a neighbouring property. The current Italian owners enlisted prominent Cape Town based architect Jon Jacobson of Metropolis Design to transform it into a glamorous, sprawling mansion. Constantia is one of Cape Town and South Africa’s more expensive suburbs and is a popular neighbourhood for celebrities, politicians and royals who have in the past rented holiday homes or owned property here. The most famous must be Earl Spencer’s home, which is situated just down the road from the Love Island Villa. This is where his sister Princess Diana used to visit often, and which sold in 2020 for over R53 million.
The Love Island Villa is listed for R105m and forms part of the recently launched, Amazing Spaces Lifestyle Investments portfolio.
All around the world, real estate, previously owned or let by celebrities, royals, politicians, or industry moguls, are often more expensive per square metre due to luxe interiors and attention to the detail you’ll often find within them. Just the mere fact they are owned by somebody famous, can have an influence on the price.
However, while the prestige of owning such a home may see some investors spending more on it, there’s also the chance of grabbing a good deal, depending on market value.
The Love Island Villa is the hero house of the hit reality TV series, and Miley Cyrus was filmed in the home for an episode of Black Mirror. Other films to use this incredible home include the Netflix TV series Kissing Booth, Resident Evil and Origin.
Investing in designer and famous real estate is very much like investing in rare artwork. Historic and architecturally significant homes therefore attract more than just your real estate market, they also pique the interest of the design crowd. These types of investors carefully consider the architect, the homes heritage, the significance of its location, the scarcity of the architectural features present, and any rare materials used in its construction. The types of properties are not average and will hold and increase their value as time goes on.
The Love Island Villa offers glazed walls, clean lines, exposed concrete, hardwood floors and generous outdoor living space. State-of-the-art security with beams and electric fencing. At its core is an imported Italian kitchen with jaw-dropping views that opens to the outside lap pool providing optimal flow. It even has its own luxury spa, with a spacious and fully equipped gym and a steam room, plus indoor and outdoor showers.
For star-struck buyers the Love Island Villa is going to tick all the right boxes. For more click here