Looking to rent? This is what R400,000 a month will get you
Money can't buy you love, but it can certainly rent you a lovely mansion for R400,000 a month.
Massive demand for rental homes across South Africa is pushing up prices - and there are many who are happy to fork out more than R100 000 a month.
This can get you a posh spot on Cape Town's Atlantic Seaboard, but you will have to flash your cash if you want something really spectacular in this area.
Johannesburg and Durban are not far behind, with a home in Dainfern Valley in northern Joburg up for rent at R150000 a month, and five-bedroom houses at KwaZulu-Natal's Zimbali fetching rentals in this range in high season.
In Clifton, a three-bedroom apartment is available for a long-term lease for R200000 a month. It offers a cinema room, three en-suite bathrooms, a pool, and is "finished to the very highest specifications", according to rental agency Dogon Group Properties.
But if a short-term rental is more your style, you could apply to occupy the main building of Enigma House in Camps Bay for a cool R50000 a day through Pam Golding Properties.
That will get you six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, "the most glamorous Versace pool in Cape Town", a teahouse and a Balinese massage temple.
In Johannesburg, it is not unusual to find expensive rentals on the market, but generally those are in the region of R65000 to R80000.
There is only one home on the market at present that goes for more than R100,000 a month.
Impeccably decorated, the property in Dainfern Valley has its own off-grid power supply. For R150,000 a month, tenants get a lush garden with many entertainment areas and a path that leads to a small river.
The five-bedroom home boasts hardwood flooring, a home theatre, gym, billiard room and cellar, said its agent. The house has a designer koi pond and state-of-the-art aquarium featuring tropical fish.
Dexter Leite, Pam Golding Properties rental manager for the Western Cape metro region, said many were opting to pay thousands of rands to rent in exclusive neighbourhoods instead of buying.
"Mainly, it is still cheaper to rent than to buy. Coupled to this is transfer duty or VAT when buying property and the fact that you have absolute flexibility when you rent. You can relocate easily, not having to dispose of an expensive asset with all the associated ramifications and effort," said Leite.
Ian Slot, Seeff's Atlantic Seaboard MD, said some of the most expensive rentals in the country were in Clifton, Bantry Bay, Fresnaye, Camps Bay and the Waterfront.
"Around R40000 to R80000 per night [is achieved] for exceptional properties. These have luxury finishes and top-class views, three or more bedroom suites, a swimming pool that generally overlooks the ocean - a home that is almost a mini boutique hotel," said Slot.
High-demand areas are close to transport and business nodes and have good local amenities such as restaurants and schools. Slot said the Cape Town CBD, for example, had seen stock "practically depleted on the back of strong demand".
Denise Dogon, CEO of the Dogon Group, said that although they specialised in top-end rentals, they also had agents who were "permanently busy" in the R10000- to R15000-a-month market. Their waiting list for aspirant tenants was growing by the day.
"We have an extensive database and inquiries are flooding in for the lower rental market. We have many people looking between R20000 to R40000, and even in the higher bracket there is a huge demand," said Dogon.
A long-term lease of a "palatial" home in Camps Bay for R400000 a month is also on offer through her company.
There were several reasons for the shortage, which was pushing up rental prices, said Leite.
"Rental stock in the popular categories has been in short supply for a number of years on the back of the 2008 recessionary dip, when investors' appetite for buy-to-let properties diminished. As a consequence, few, if any, 'new' residential developments came to the market for a number of years. There was also an increase in rental demand as the banks' lending criteria have become and remain very stringent," he said.
KwaZulu-Natal might not be achieving the sort of rental prices that the Western Cape is, but there are several palatial residences on offer in the province.
"The most expensive long-term rental I had was for R85000 a month for a beachfront home in Zimbali," said Andreas Wassenaar of Seeff Dolphin Coast.
"The seven-bedroom, all en suite, was leased for a year. However, the high-end properties in Zimbali are regularly rented for the month of December in excess of R100000. A nice big five-bedroom house in Zimbali can easily fetch R150000 just for December."
Neil de Beer, Pam Golding Properties' area principal in Ballito, said the top end of the property market achieved around R40000 a month.