When it comes to centrality combined with cosmopolitan living, there are few areas that can compete with Green Point and the massive surge in the demand for property here over the last two years confirms this, say Seeff's sectional title agents for the area, JP Ricketts and Ayeh Khalatbari. Stretching from the colorful condominiums of De Waterkant down to Harbour's Edge below Prestwich Street, this relatively small neighbourhood boasts architectural variety to meet just about every buyer's need.
In the last year, we have seen sales volumes climb to a total of 243 units to the combined value of almost R500 million. This is only marginally below the 2008-highs of 276 sales considering that we are effectively still operating under challenging economic conditions, say the agents.
While the average national price growth over the last few years has remained flat at between 6-8% in nominal terms, the suburb has seen its average price surge by 35% from around R1,7 million in 2008/9 to R2,3 million. The demand over the last year has been such that most of the stock on the market has been depleted resulting in a real opportunity for smart sellers to capitalise on the buoyant demand, say the agents. An added incentive is that the price gap (average difference between the asking and selling price) is down to around 5%.
The attraction of the suburb is obvious, say the agents. The location between the CBD and Atlantic Seaboard and diverse selection of trendy properties makes it a top choice, especially with young professional and family buyers as is clearly demonstrated by the demand and sales activity. Development here has made it a real hub of convenience; the Cape Quarter lifestyle village for example alone containing dozens of stores. With some of the hippest bars and clubs, boutiques, cafés and restaurants in the area, it now boasts a real village atmosphere akin to that of New York's Greenwich Village.
The agents also say that one of the suburb's greatest attributes is how it caters for the physically active. The enormous urban park developed around the Cape Town Stadium for example provides a scenic jogging/walking trail to the Sea Points promenade. There are also top gyms in the suburb including one of the city's most acclaimed yoga studios.
From a sales perspective, the demand for property is almost across the board, but especially for bachelor pads around the R1 million price range, one-bedroomed units up to R1,5 million and two bedroomed apartments up to R2 million. Given the demand and fact that buyers are prepared to pay almost full asking price, there is now an excellent opportunity for sellers here, says Ricketts and Khalatbari.
One of the most picturesque Cape Dutch farms neighbouring the highly-rated Vergelegen Wine Estate in Somerset West has come onto the market, priced at R50 million plus VAT. The 14ha estate is on land that was portioned off when Vergelegen was sold in 1994. It includes a beautiful thatched Cape Dutch Manor House of almost 1,750sqm, four guest cottages and a large stable; all designed in the style of the surrounding wine estates. The superior finishes include high wooden doors, double sash windows with shutters and Yellow-wood floors and vaulted Parnavon-wood ceilings with brass chandeliers in the front reception rooms.
With the Helderberg Mountains as a backdrop and flanked by the Lourens River, few properties can compare with the scenic setting, stunning buildings and Oak-treed gardens on offer, says Seeff agent, Jane Steven. The estate is also surrounded by some of the country's top wine estates - Vergelegen, Morgenster and Lourensford. While an ideal residential estate, it is also a rare opportunity for an investor looking for a trophy Cape wine estate. The buildings offer easy conversion to a boutique hotel with a restaurant and winery and tasting room. The gardens are ideal for picnics, especially towards the river where there is also a lovely Lily pond, she says.
A long, Oak tree-lined driveway leads to the manor house that is fronted by the tranquillity of a pond and the river. The typical H-design includes a double-storey wing on either side of a double-volume central area. Massive double wooden doors open to the central part that comprises of the massive winter double lounge with a fireplace and a large summer lounge and dining area that opens to a terrace that surrounds a swimming pool and overlooks the beautiful gardens towards the river.
The right wing includes a large, 18-seater formal dining room, also with a fireplace and a Maple-wood kitchen with a laundry/utility room and a store room. Above this, is a glass-enclosed wine cellar along with a theatre room and additional store room that can be converted to a recreation room. The left wing includes the large main bedroom suite with a dressing room and his and her bathrooms. There are also a further five bedroom suites that open to balconies and stunning views. Also on the upper level of this wing is a spacious study and secluded library. To the side of the house is a tennis court.
A little distance away, are the four guest cottages; two one-bedroomed units and two three-bedroomed units, all opening to stunning views. The large stable can accommodate six horses and includes a tack room. There is also a shed as well as garaging for ten vehicles. The estate is fully secured. The property further includes an 8ha plum orchard, currently leased out at around R22,000 per annum, says Steven.
Surrounded by the majestic Hottentots Holland Mountains and rolling vineyards, Somerset West is regarded as one of the most scenic villages in the country. It is also conveniently close (only about 40-minutes' drive) to Cape Town and the airport, says the agent. The white beaches of the Strand are minutes away as is the Helderberg Nature Reserve. The relaxed country lifestyle is complemented by top class infrastructure including excellent schools, retail, medical and other facilities.
The Somerset West and Stellenbosch Wine Valley include some of the most sought-after wine estates in the country worth anything upwards of R50 to almost R200 million per estate. Aside from producing award winning wines, these are a major draw-card for visitors from across the globe and this property is an ideal investment opportunity for a buyer looking to capitalise on this, concludes the agent.
Seeff Dolphin Coast, whose offices are in Ballito, took home two top awards at the recent Seeff National Awards for 2013 held on 21 May 2014 at Arabella Hotel & Spa near Kleinmond. For their market size (Division 2) they won both theNational Licensee of the Year Award, as well as the National Marketer of the Year Award. Criteria for these awards focus not only on sales figures, but on innovation, business strategy, market share and how the Seeff brand is represented in each licence area and community.
Since winning these awards the office has gone on to pull off an innovative marketing coup with creation of the Happy Ballito' YouTube video, which after just a week had over 19,000 views (as at 3 June close to 25,000).
MD of Seeff Dolphin Coast, Andreas Wassenaar, explains: "I have always said that every business requires two things to be sustainable: marketing and innovation. We managed to combine these two in one with this recent YouTube release. My wife, Jane, picked up on the Cape Town version of Pharrell Williams' song Happy' on YouTube. Countries all over the world are making their own versions of it.Slovakia has a version set on a snow-capped mountaintop with bikini-clad models dancing and singing - which may explain the over 3 million views they received. The six Iranians from Tehran who produced their version made headline news when they were arrested because of it."
Seeff Dolphin CoastSales & Marketing Director, Tim Johnson, decided that Ballito needed its own version, and hooked up with Karl Worner from community online platform I love Ballito.com', and together with Tim Hay of Hellmot Productions and Julie Robert of Sugar Dance, put together a world-class production within 10 days. It features many local celebrities and regular well-known personalities - from homeless folk to Patricia Lewis and AJ Venter, who are regular faces out and around in Ballito, and of course used well-known locations. Says Johnson: "People tend to make their versions for various reasons, but many of us have lived and have grown up in Ballito, and we are genuinely passionate about the area. It is our way of showing how all of us who live in this area are connected."
Adds Johnson: Within a day we had received calls from Mr Price wanting to use it in their promotion of the Mr Price Pro surfing competition this year, Sony Music Africa tweeted it to their followers and East Coast Radio acknowledged the video live on air. If you are running a business and still wondering if social media is important as a way to communicate, then you are asking the wrong question! The social media platforms have revolutionised the way we all communicate and have truly made the world a small, interconnected village. Our aim is that the Happy Ballito video will make people proud of where they live as well as inspire and motivate others to migrate here."
To see the video go to YouTube and type in Happy Ballito, or click herehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjFyf4kBJMg
The central city and surrounds and the Atlantic Seaboard is experiencing strong demand for commercial offices and retail space, says Seeff's commercial consultant for the areas, Guy Friedberg. Demand is almost across the board, from older buildings to new Grade A prime office space developments and even houses suited for conversion in areas such as Vredehoek and Sea Point.
Consequently, we have seen rental rates edge up over the last two years by around 9% on average. There are also some areas in the central city such as Kloof and Long Streets where high demand is driving rentals rates up, says the agent. Business in the city and on the Atlantic Seaboard is booming and tenants are looking for office and retail space and are prepared to pay higher rates for the right premises, he adds.
There is growing demand for luxury homes in Hout Bay according to Seeff agent, Ingred Blicher Hansen who recently sold several luxury homes, priced upwards of R6,4 million to around R15 million. Driven by the wonderful village lifestyle, views and convenient access to the city, upper income buyers are increasingly heading here for better value for their money when it comes to luxury housing, she says.
The demand for property here is evident from the growth in sales to around 374 units to the value of just over R835 million last year compared to 278 sales worth around R614 million in the preceding year. That is a quite significant increase of 35% in the volume of sales and Rand-value. Most notably, says Blicher Hansen, around 28 properties priced above the R5 million mark sold, almost 50% more than the 19 sales in the year before with exceptional properties now fetching anything upwards of R10 million to R23 million.
The Somerset West property market is emerging from the recession hang-over with demand now beginning to outpace supply in the residential sales and rental sectors. That is the word from Seeff's Somerset West manager, Loretta Diab. Following the rather depressed market conditions of 3-5 years ago, we have in the last year seen a noteworthy improvement in buyer enthusiasm and sales to the extent that our agents are now battling to meet both buyer and rental demand.
Driven by growing buyer confidence, sales have strengthened year-on-year over the last few years. In 2009, activity slumped to 967 sales to the value of just over R1,2 billion. By last year, activity had improved to about 1,387 sales worth almost R2,2bn - 43% up in terms of sales volume and 83% up in terms of the Rand-value.
Located only 45 minutes from Cape Town, the lush and fertile Elgin/Grabouw Valley is renowned for its fruit farms for example producing about 60 percent of the country's total annual apple crop, much of it exported. Seeff agent, Peté Kotzé though says that the area is fast gaining popularity for its wine and olive farms and, the valley is now more of a tapestry of orchards, vineyards and olive groves.
The Mediterranean climate makes it ideal for wine and olive cultivation. It is already gaining a reputation for its high quality cool climate wines, especially Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noirs, says the agent. The potential of olive farming across the Western Cape though has increasingly come to the fore in the last two years. It is one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors and according to the SAO (The South African Olive Industry Association), production has doubled over the last four years on the back of strong demand for olive oil and the various olive products.
Coming off a very busy few months, Seeff's agents across the southern school belt suburbs of Rondebosch, Claremont, Newlands, Kenilworth and Plumstead say that they are already dealing with buyers looking to move closer to schools and tertiary education facilities for the next academic year. With property stock levels down about 30% year-on-year on the back of strong sales, the biggest challenge for our agents is meeting the buoyant buyer demand, says managing director for the area, Andy Todd.
With around 160 schools, the southern suburbs boast the highest number of schools per square kilometre in the country, says Todd. While the convenient location of these suburbs, the top class infrastructure and quick access to just about anywhere into and out of the city is a plus factor, the high density of schools and the nearby UCT (University of Cape Town) is the biggest draw card for buyers.
The scenic Tulbagh Valley is now drawing buyers from across the globe, says Seeff agent, Nelia Retief. Surrounded by majestic mountains and with its collection of historic Cape Dutch buildings in Church Street a big draw card, the village has seen a flurry of buyers heading here over the last year. These include foreign buyers, mostly from Europe looking to invest in property and prepared to spend up to R6 million for a farm in the area, says the agent.
About 42 property sales were concluded during the 2013 year including 28 sales to the value of R19,5 million concluded by the agent. Not only is this about 24% better than the 34 odd sales of 2009 when the market turned, but this year is already off to a booming start, says Retief. Seeff alone has already concluded 15 sales to the value of around R8,2 million during the first quarter of this year, she adds.
The upswing in both domestic and foreign visitors to the Cape has boosted demand for hospitality property across many areas, especially the Overberg region, says Seeff's managing director for the area, Ian Badenhorst. Our agents report that in addition to an increase in domestic visitors, foreign visitor numbers were up by about 20% over the summer with guest houses and hospitality establishments were once again booked out.
Aside from serving the seasonal tourist trade, the Overberg is popular with weekenders, something that has contributed to the demand for hospitality property, says Badenhorst. Interest ranges from existing guest houses and bed and breakfast establishments to properties ready for conversion to guest houses, curio and art stores to restaurants. Popular hot spots include Caledon, Swellendam, Barrydale, Bredasdorp and the nearby coastal villages of the Cape Agulhas area, Arniston and Struisbaai....