CBD residents are here to stay

2018-01-23 06:00

Central City residents are staying in their apartments for longer.

This is the finding of the latest annual residential survey conducted at the end of 2017 by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID). The survey indicates that residents are now living in their apartments for a number of years.

According to Carola Koblitz, CCID communication manager, the dipstick survey has been conducted online since 2013, and while results on the whole have remained relatively constant from year to year, there have been some interesting shifts over the course of the past 12 months, in comparison with the 2016 results.

“While the respondents are still split around 50/50 between those who own the units in which they live and those who rent, what is clearly evident is that people are now staying in their apartments for a number of years – well beyond three years and upwards,” she explains. “There has been a huge jump in particular in the number of people who now say they have been living in the Central City for more than 10 years.”

Koblitz explains that the results from 2014 showed that only 15% of respondents had been living in the CBD for more than 10 years. In the latest 2017 survey, this now sits at 32% – more than double.

“What this shows us is that the downtown is building a solid neighbourhood community of loyal residents, living mostly in buildings that were once upon a time office blocks. Before the mid-2000s, with the exception of a few residential complexes that had existed for decades, there were very few residential units in the Central City. The CBD itself was largely a business and retail area. Today, it is home to thousands of people who occupy it 24/7. Of course, they ‘share’ this neighbourhood with the hundreds of thousands who work or study here, but who only experience it during daytime hours.”

While the exact number of residents is unknown – and will be until the next official census takes place – it is estimated that the Central City currently has around 3800 residential units in its footprint.

“This means that, conservatively, it has the potential for a residential community of around 7000 residents. But it is impossible, without an official census, to know exactly how these units are occupied – whether that be for residential purposes, AirBnB, by owners living elsewhere who use their units for corporate or holiday purposes, or even as business premises for day-to-day office workers.”

Reasons to live in the CDB

In terms of age, while Millennials (27% of respondents between 24 and 34 years of age) still made up the largest group of respondents to the survey, there was a significant increase in the responses of those aged 55 and older. In 2016, this had stood at 13% while for 2017 this rose to 20%.

“We believe this correlates with another result from the 2017 survey that speaks to the reason why people choose to live in the CBD and this is to be closer to their place of work. In 2016, this stood as the number one reason for 58% of respondents, but in the latest survey this rose to 68%,” says Koblitz.

“In my opinion, it probably has quite a bit to do with empty nesters, who are now finding themselves in big empty homes in the suburbs and who realise that, with the kids gone, they can now opt for a more convenient albeit more compact lifestyle.”

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