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The micro-apartment revolution is in full force in South Africa.  While I don’t think there are any official guidelines, I would say anything under 30 square meters is a reasonably tight space to live in, more so if you are a couple.

I read about micro-apartments and every article, whether it’s a property magazine or agent, speaks about young professionals who prefer to live closer to work and are willing to give up space for location.  Why live in the ‘burbs when you could be in town or Sea Point – same cost, half the space?

Are these young Capetonians actually living in these apartments?

As a developer who has sold a number of residential blocks with small apartments in them, I know the vast majority of these apartments are not being lived in by locals.  They are almost always for investors who rent them short-term.

Is that bad?  I don’t think so.

Airbnb and other platforms allow individual investors to provide hospitality stock in an environment where building a purpose-built hotel is risky and generally a no-no from the banks. And while Cape Town may think it is Amsterdam or Paris where you can get away with a small studio without parking for a long-term tenant because everything, not just a coffee shop and restaurant, is at your doorstep, but also parks, public transportation and bike lanes (please!) then these are going to stay within the realm of Airbnb. BUT, when Cape Town does catch up, then the stock will be there ready to accept locals in denser and environmentally-friendlier buildings.

But if I’m wrong, and you, Mr. or Ms. Capetonian, own and live in one of these apartments, send me a message, I’d love to pick your brain.

David Cohen, Managing Director

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