Steyn mansion sets R250m property record

INSURANCE tycoon Douw Steyn’s mansion in Sandton’s Fourways, recently completed at a cost of R250m, has set what is believed to be a new record for South African residential property values.

The lavish home, named Palazzo Steyn, is the first residential property to be completed at Steyn City, the 810ha mixed-use lifestyle estate under construction alongside William Nicol Drive next to Dainfern Golf Estate.

Earlier speculation placed an estimated value of R150m-R200m on Mr Steyn’s new home. But Steyn City Properties CEO Giuseppe Plumari told Business Day on Thursday that total construction costs came to a ballpark figure of R250m.

The palatial 3,000m² property on a 2.5ha stand features, among other things, a basement garage for 33 cars, which will house Mr Steyn’s sport and vintage car collection, seven bedrooms and a wine cellar.

The billionaire founder of Auto & General moved to London in 1992 to start Budget Insurance Company and now divides his time between South Africa and the UK. Mr Steyn said on Steyn City’s website that he could have invested in a luxury residence in Europe or the US, but instead chose to invest in South Africa.

“This is indicative of the confidence I have in our country and the success of Steyn City. I also long for the quality of life that we are creating for future residents and it therefore made sense for me to be part of it,” he said.

“My wife and I are looking forward to entertaining our friends and business partners from all over the world at our new residence, while also exposing them to our magnificent country.”

Steyn City will only be launched to the public in early 2015 once water, road and sewerage infrastructure, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course and residential show units are complete.

Mr Plumari said the 810ha development, of which half will comprise wooded parkland, will be roughly three times the size of neighbouring Dainfern on completion. Total construction costs will amount to R6bn.

While Palazzo Steyn places Steyn City as one of South Africa’s most expensive residential addresses, Mr Plumari said the development is not aimed only at a wealthy few. “The idea is to create a truly mixed-use lifestyle that will appeal to a wide spectrum of potential buyers. The estate will comprise close to 1,000 residential units, ranging from one-bedroom sectional title apartments to large, stand-alone homes.”

Until now, Waterfall Equestrian Estate north of Johannesburg, near Kyalami, was believed to be South Africa’s priciest gated enclave. A 3,500m² house with a value of R130m was completed in the estate last year. The property stretches over four stands totalling 3.6ha.

Although a Camps Bay home on Cape Town’s swish Atlantic Seaboard was placed on the market for R300m (including art and furniture) last year, the 7,130m² residence, known as Enigma Mansion, has yet to be sold.

The most notable big-ticket sales clinched in South Africa so far this year are a Sandhurst home previously owned by the late Rwandan telecoms billionaire Miko Rwayitare, which reportedly fetched R80m, and a three-level home in Fresnaye on the Atlantic Seaboard which was sold for R110m to a buyer from the United Arab Emirates.

Other wealthy suburbs of Johannesburg are also testing new price highs. A penthouse apartment in Morningside’s Regent building went on the market two months ago for R60m. In 2011, a custom-built apartment of 1,238m², including garaging for eight cars, was sold off plan at The Houghton for R54m.

Sandton’s Inanda Club, which sold a third of its land to Investec Property for R72.5m earlier this year, is also set to become one of Gauteng’s most exclusive residential addresses. The developer sold all 33 stands of 1,000m²-1,200m² for R5m-R5.5m apiece before the gated development was officially launched. That translates into a price of R4,000/m²-R4,500/m², which is believed to be a new record for Gauteng land values. Industry players say vacant land in other sought-after suburbs such as Hyde Park and Sandhurst typically sell for R3,000/m²-R3,500/m².

However, Sol Kerzner’s One &Only hotel at the Waterfront in Cape Town, where a luxury penthouse fetched just more than R110m in 2008, still holds the record for the highest price achieved for a residential property in South Africa.