Holiday makers - both local and international - were prepared to pay up to R100 000 a night to stay in platinum level villas along premium spots in Cape Town this holiday season.
Dinis Martins, chief operating officer of Seeff Atlantic Seaboard & City Bowl, told Fin24 the rental market is buoyant with strong demand and good rentals, although those very high R100 000-plus rentals are few and far between.
"The market will be busy this year. We are already concluding deals and doing renewals. Rentals now easily range upwards of R20 000 to R30 000 per month, even in Sea Point. Expect to pay upwards of R35 000 to R40 000 in Camps Bay, and of course top end rates in Clifton and Bantry Bay," said Martins.
Martins pointed out that it is still cheaper to rent than buy, therefore many are heading to the area to still get to enjoy the lifestyle and status without having to pay millions for the privilege. The demand is across the board and there is still a shortage of good long-term rental stock. Therefore, for landlords there is still good business to be had.
Janine Sullivan, rental agent of Pam Golding Properties (PGP), told Fin24 that most of the holiday rental queries during the busy holiday season have been for Camps Bay and Clifton - close to popular beaches and attractions - as well as other suburbs along the Atlantic Seaboard.
There were also quite a few queries for rentals in Oranjezicht.
Sullivan said about 80% of the rental queries are from overseas visitors - particularly from Germany, France, Norway and New Zealand. Local guests were mainly from Johannesburg.
Size matters
The rental rates vary depending on the size and furnishing of the property. The average holiday rental during the peak season was R3 500 a night for smaller apartments and up to R25 000 for a larger, five-bedroom house.
Then of course there are the so-called platinum level villas. These are exceptional houses with amazing views, state-of-the-art finishes and excellent locations in sought-after areas. These properties in premium spots such as on Clifton beach, on Top Road in Bantry Bay or Nettleton Ridge inspired guests to pay from R40 000 a night upwards to R100 000 a night.
PGP also received enquiries for various budget brackets. People were looking to rent sectional title apartments as well as larger houses.
Sullivan added while most owners only allow for daily rentals during the busy summer season, there’s a huge demand for guests wanting to stay for longer at a monthly rate.
Season extended
Ruth Munitz, SeeffSHORTSTAY manager, told Fin24 Cape Town is most certainly the place to be when it comes to holidays, but in fact the season has now extended well beyond the traditional November-January period.
"It is busy in Cape Town right up to about May with major events and festivals still drawing large crowds to the city - most looking for short-term rentals. This includes the jazz festival, Cape Cycle Tour and Two Oceans Marathon," said Munitz. "So far, it has been a fairly busy tourist season, but it can always be busier."
While high rental rates are being paid, Munitz finds most people are looking for a good deal, especially given that Airbnb has "exploded" and there is an over-subscription of accommodation.
"We are finding that more and more people are looking for longer stays. They get to Cape Town and want to stay for anything up to three to six months. There is a bit of a disconnect between what property owners think they can get for their property and what the holiday makers and clients are prepared to pay. Sometimes there is too much hype about high rates, which are advertised rates and not reality," explained Munitz. "This is a pity as we have had clients who have lost out on income as they have thought it better to hold out for an unrealistically high rate and ended up with no booking. That said, if you are looking to make some money out of a rental, then Cape Town and the Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl is most certainly a good bet."
During high season holidaymakers are prepared to pay between R5 000 and R35 000 per day and more, depending on the location and what the property offers.
"Often, it is advisable to take a slightly longer rental at a slightly lower rate rather than risk holding out for a high rate and ending up with nothing," said Munitz.
Denise Dogon, CEO of Dogon Group Properties, said the high-end rentals segment experienced an exceptional season. Dogon actually had some rentals of over R100 000 per day being booked.
"Dogon Group Rentals rented to high-profile international celebrities and had enquiries from countries across the globe," she said.
Setting the right price
Lew Geffen, chair of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, told Fin24 that property owners along the Atlantic Seaboard, who set the price of their accommodation appropriate to the standard of the property and the location, have enjoyed a bumper season.
"The exclusive strip from Llandudno to Fresnaye is often referred to as the 'Monaco of the South' and offers tourists an oceanfront setting, never-ending ocean views from most vantage points and a wide choice of property options," said Geffen.
He said in peak season, one-bedroom apartments in Clifton usually start at around R4 000 a day, with most properties ranging between R9 500 and R35 000 per day, depending on the size, location and the facilities offered.
"There are also the super-luxurious, architectural masterpieces at the top end of the market, which are now nudging the R100 000 mark, or in a few exceptional cases exceeding that price," said Geffen.

“There is no doubt that the Atlantic Seaboard continues to command the highest holiday rentals in the country and it does place it out of reach of many South African holiday makers, but there is still local appetite for the market. It is also a huge drawcard for foreign visitors taking advantage of a favourable exchange rate."
Despite the fact that Cape Town is a long haul destination for many international travellers, holidaying here is ultimately still much cheaper than many other comparative international destinations, he pointed out.
Susan Watts of RE/MAX Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl told Fin24 the number of foreigners looking at both short- and long-term rentals along the Atlantic Seaboard has certainly pushed prices to an all-time high this holiday season. "Even as the festive season draws to a close, we are still flooded with enquiries and this is fantastic news for our economy," said Watts.
"Value for money Cape Town is still rated as one of the top holiday destinations in the world and holiday makers are quick to recognise this. Despite the perceived high prices, it is hard to match the value this city has on offer."