Plett is back on the radar of holiday home buyers and they are spending anything upwards of R5 million to a record price of R45 million for a luxury beach house located in Beachy Head recently sold by Seeff, says the agency's principal, Kevin Engelsman. The previous highest price was achieved in 2011 at R24,5 million.
While residential buying still dominates, agent Alet Ollemans says that there has been a notable return of Joburg and Capetonian buyers. Five years ago, there were almost no sales here above the R10 million price mark. In the last year though, the agent has sold 8 luxury homes priced upwards of R10,2 million, including two sales at R18,5 million each, a R21,5 million sale and the record R45 million sale.
The property market has been on a gradual road to recovery in recent years, says Engelsman. Holiday makers have steadily made their return and with that the demand for holiday and second homes. Last year, about 272 property transactions worth R540 million were concluded in the village, just under half of it sold by Seeff.
It has been a very successful summer season for our agents and with almost 50 sales already under the belt for the first four months including several high value deals, we are on target to see further growth in holiday home sales this year, says Engelsman. Younger buyers are also increasingly investing in holiday homes, largely under the R1,5 million price band. Since early last year, vacant plots have also started selling and, while most buyers of these intend building holiday homes, many are simply investing now with the view to future capital growth, he adds.
Prices have largely settled down and sellers are now far more inclined to negotiate, something that has contributed to the buoyant activity, says Ollemans. While there is still plenty of value to be had at the bottom to mid-sector of the market, we are now seeing a shortage of Blue Chip beachfront homes and it is an opportune time for serious sellers to get good prices.
With the Tsitsikamma Mountains as a backdrop, forests, a nature reserve, rivers, the warm Indian Ocean and three Blue-Flag beaches, Plett is the popular playground of the country's well-to-do when it comes to weekend and holiday getaways. For water sport and adventure and nature lovers, it is a paradise while others can indulge in two pro-golf courses. The village is also renowned for its top class polo fields with an almost year-round calendar of tournaments.
Devoid of the hustle and bustle of Cape Town's Atlantic Seaboard and no traffic jams, you can kick back and enjoy a laid-back coastal lifestyle here. Over school holidays for example, it is not uncommon for families to come down for weeks and a whole month in December. Many holiday-home owners later retire here and, in recent years, we have seen a rise in permanent residents with many migrating here from the big cities, says Engelsman.
It was always just a matter of time before we would see the return of holiday and investment buyers, he adds. With the recent introduction of weekly flights from Cape Town and Joburg by CemAir, Plett is now even more accessible for weekend getaways and holiday makers and of course for those who already own a holiday home here.
Not even the onset of the freezing temperatures are keeping buyers away as the buying frenzy across the Southern Suburbs continues, says Seeff's managing director for the areas, Andy Todd. With multiple offers and better prices, sellers have much to smile about. A further boost is the return of investor-buyers who are not only back, but buying.
About 20% of our sales this year have been for investment purposes, mostly to buy-to-let investors, but we have also concluded a number of sales to renovators and speculators, says Todd. This is a big change from two to five years ago when investor buyers had largely fled the market, preferring alternative investment options to residential property.
The popular choices for buy-to-let investors are sectional title units in the suburbs of Rondebosch, Claremont, Kenilworth, mostly one and two-bedroomed apartments priced under R1 million although some have paid up to R2 million for the right apartment, says Todd. The relaxation in certain provisions of the zoning regulations last year has also seen demand for R4-zoned (high density development) land increasing.
Renovators have been flocking to the school-zone suburbs of Claremont, Rondebosch and Newlands and many have made good returns in a relatively short period. A four-bedroomed home in Lee Road, Claremont/Lynfrae, for example was bought for R1,9 million in July last year. The buyer then renovated and modernised the property with trendy finishes and, it has just been sold by agent, Debbie Chalmers for over R3 million; yielding a significant return in under a year, says the agent.
There are more serious buyers now than I have ever seen, adds Todd who has been in real estate since 1987. I have never seen a gap in the market like there is now and our agents are sitting with growing lists of waiting buyers on the back of stock shortages. Show house attendance for the right property is sky high.
Chalmers for example sold five homes to the value of R14,1 million in the suburb last month alone, all within one month of listing. Sales include a three-bedroomed renovator's dream' in Lynwood Road that attracted 56 families on one show day with two offers and sold for R2,85 million. Yet another fixer upper' in Chess Road (within the school catchment area) attracted 80 buyers and seven offers. It sold for in excess of the asking price of R2,6 million.
Lynfrae is currently attracting significant interest as it is seen as representing good value for money, has the major advantage of school proximity and zoning in certain pockets. Buyers are flocking to the area right now and for sellers, it is a good time to list and get a good price, concludes Chalmers.
Luxury buyers are heading back to the historic Constantia Valley according to Seeff agents, Shelley Kruger, Marie Durr and Janine Stevenson who recently sold seven luxury homes priced up to R17 million in the Upper Constantia area. After somewhat of a lull in demand, especially at the top end, activity is now buoyant. While buyers have mostly been locals, we have also seen a return of Joburg and foreign buyers as well as South African expat buyers looking to relocate back to the country, say the agents.
While on the whole, the sub-R10 million price band is still attracting most of the demand across the suburb, the buoyant activity has spilled into the upper end of the market. In the last year sales over R10 million have almost doubled to 24 compared to just 13 in the preceding period, advise the agents. Managing director for the Southern Suburbs, Andy Todd, says that sales activity on the whole has leaped by 28% since the post 2007/8 market contraction. In the year ending April, about 204 sales transactions to the value of almost R1,2 billion were concluded in Constantia. Comparatively, only about 160 properties, worth just under R877 million, sold during the corresponding 12-month period ending April 2010.
The rural character, generous land sizes and wonderfully diverse mix of homes add to the perennial charm of the suburb. For country lifestyle seekers, it is the quintessential choice, yet with top class infrastructure and amenities on hand. Laidback and with lovely walking, cycling and equestrian trails, it really does offer the best of both - country charm, yet city chic, say the agents. And, there is something to suit just about every buyer taste and budget, from historic to contemporary.
Mid-sized homes now sell for upwards of around R3,2 million to R9,8 million while luxury homes range upwards of around R10,5 million for a spacious, contemporary architectural home on a plot of over 2,600sqm to around R22 million for a stunning 2-acre (over 8,000sqm) estate with a magnificent historic homestead and panoramic views of Table Mountain and the False Bay coastline. This rare property is one of the few traditional homes of the area, located in sough-after Southern Cross Drive and is set to draw significant interest, says Kruger, Durr and Stevenson.
The home, built in the early 1900s was designed in an English country style by well-known architect, William (Billy) Grant who was responsible for landmarks such as the Alhambra and Colosseum Theatres and the building today known as Inn on the Square' on Greenmarket Square. It boasts luxury finishes including lead-paned windows, chandeliers, parquet and wooden floors in the living rooms and pressed ceilings in the dining room. The living areas include two lounges, both with fireplaces, a dining room, study and kitchen with a pantry and separate laundry. There are four bedrooms, the main suite on the lower level opens to the garden.
There are also two cottages on the property - a one-bedroomed unit and a two-bedroomed unit with a lounge, dining room and mezzanine level. Also in the garden, is a pool house with a sauna, shower and steam rooms and a gazebo with a braai, seating and wet bar that overlooks a swimming pool and Jacuzzi. The property further includes a staff suite, two-gated entry, double garage and security system. The plot (which is sub-divisible) includes a beautifully landscaped garden and borehole.
For more information, contact Seeff Southern Suburbs, Shelley Kruger, Janine Stevenson and Marie Durr on083 700 9001/073 168 4749/083 269 8608or021 794 5252or visitwww.seeff.com, web reference 318753.
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 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....
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.