Lindsay O’Callaghan, Fish Hoek
As a Fish Hoek property owner, I refer to your article in this week’s Echo (“Concern over tariff hikes”, False Bay Echo, April 20), in respect of the statement made that Fish Hoek is a lower middle class suburb.
I believe that this is an incorrect statement and should be retracted or corrected as, branding it as a lower middle class area, could have a negative impact on our property values and also presents a
completely different picture of our lovely, leafy village and friendly community.
Of further concern is that Fish Hoek is a well loved tourist destination; depicting it as lower middle class area will do nothing to boost tourist trade.
Despite some of the rather unattractive shopfronts on our Main Road, suburbs are classified according to the gross incomes of the households within the suburb and not on appearances or any other criteria.
I refer you to an interesting article online, found at https://businesstech.co.za/news/banking/123511/what-you-need-to-know-about-south-africas-middle-class and dated May 2016, in particular to the class and income matrix which stipulates the different income brackets and their relative classifications.
It can therefore be reasonable to conclude (based on these figures) that in order for Fish Hoek to be classified as a lower middle class suburb, the residents would have to be earning between
R1 000 and R9 000 a month. Therefore, one can assume that rentals and property prices would generally need to be proportionate to these incomes, ie a household with an income of R9 000 a month would only be eligible for a bond of around R300 000, and even the smallest flat in Fish Hoek sells at no less than R600 000.
In fact there are properties listed at selling prices in excess of R5 million. Admittedly, there are residents in Fish Hoek that have been here for many years and may well have purchased their
homes when property values were lower, but I think that these would be in the minority.
Furthermore, rental prices in Fish Hoek also debunk this statement, based on the accepted percentage ratio of rental to income being 30%. This means that even households at the top end of the lower middle class income category, would be
expected to be paying rentals of around R2 700 a month. However, rentals in Fish Hoek range from around R4 000 a month
to as high as R30 000 a month.