As demand for urban living grows, Woodstock is rapidly becoming the more affordable and trendy alternative to the CBD and City Bowl suburbs according to Craig Algie, Seeff's agent for the area. Creative young professionals started moving into the area a few years ago, renovating, revamping and setting up shop and slowly other professionals, tourists and buyers have followed to this new property hot spot, he says.
The global emergence of a creative economy to largely drive small business growth has in no small part emerged here. The gentrification of Woodstock is strongly led by a creative flavour, yet most of the development fits in well with the historic character of the area, says Algie. Some of the city's trendiest building make-overs can be found here. On the outside, some of the buildings might not look like much, just a bit of a face-lift, but once inside, you are transformed into an urban loft-style interior that can compete with the best in New York, London and Berlin.
While the Old Biscuit Mill remains a top attraction, the area is also where you will now head to if you are looking for trendy décor, art and furniture, he says. The Woodstock Exchange is a hub of creativity and myriad of ateliers, boutique-styled shops and quaint street cafés along Roodebloem Road add to the attraction. What was once a run-down, lower-middle class suburb is gradually transforming into a hip new urban area as buyers discover this gem of the city.
The suburb's location on the fringe of the CBD, stretching up from the docks to the lower slopes of Devil's Peak, makes it a convenient alternative for those looking to live close to the city and the Atlantic Seaboard, says Algie. The lower Woodstock end, nearest to the docks, is where you will find the Old Biscuit Mill and other attractions. From here, narrow roads lined with little old Victorian Row Semis, freestanding houses and apartments, priced upwards of around R600,000, wind upwards towards the N2 Nelson Mandela Boulevard. Larger homes here range upwards of R950,000 to around R1,8 million.
Above the N2, towards Devil's Peak, lie Walmer Estate and University Estate closer to the Groote Schuur Hospital end. These two areas in particular have seen a flurry of buyers snapping up older homes and renovating, says the agent. Older homes here still sell for upwards of R2 million while renovated modern homes can range up to around R3,5 million.
Developers have also spotted the potential and there are trendy new apartments selling here for upwards of R600,000 for a one-bedroomed unit to R1,4 million for two bedrooms. Other developers have remodelled the old homes into trendy new city pads such as two new duplex townhouses in Chester Road that have been launched for sale to meet the demand for chic urban living, says Algie.
The homes are spacious, with about 220sqm in floor space and come with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a guest bathroom, modern kitchen and an open-plan living area that opens to a terrace with stunning views over the harbour and out over the ocean as far as Robben Island. There is also secure parking. The properties are prices at R3,695 million each.
The response to the new Ports Edge rental apartment development at the V&A Waterfront has exceeded all expectations, says Seeff's rentals manager, Urszula Holtzer. Almost 60% of 34 apartments of Phase One, the first of the 109-apartment development planned over three phases, has now been let and the tenants are moving in. With monthly rates starting from as low as R6,000 for a studio, the apartments are going fast and there are only a few remaining units up for grabs in phase one, she says.
The development is the first rental-only apartment block for V&A Waterfront and the demand for residences here is growing as people discover the lifestyle on offer, says Seeff's Atlantic Seaboard managing director, Ian Slot. It is situated in a prime spot, across from the Aquariumand adjacent to the One and Only hotel, within walking distance of the canals and offers a sought-after, trendy lifestyle.The development comes with 24-hour security, controlled access and free Wi-Fi.Parking is available as an added extra.
The apartments boast ultra-modern interiors and top class finishes, says Holtzer. There is a choice of studio, one and two-bedroomed units. Show units with interiors by Weylandts are also now ready to give prospective tenants insight into the beautiful finishes and potential. Rental prices start at R6,000 per month for a studio, R8,500 for a one-bedroomed unit and R16,000 for a two-bedroomed apartment.
Residents enjoy direct access to the facilities and amenities of the V&A Waterfront including the MyCiti bus service, world-class shopping, eateries and pubs, cinemas and water sport on the canals. There are also gyms, a scenic walking trail along the V&A boardwalk that winds along the water's edge to Mouille Point and two running trails (a 2,5km and 5km trail) that encircle the Waterfront. Nearby is a large grassed area for picnics and views across the bay, quite unique for CBD and apartment living.
If you are looking for a chic, urban lifestyle that combines the best of live, work and play at the sought-after V&A Waterfront, then it does not come better than this, says Holtzer. The interiors reflect the latest international design trends with uncluttered open spaces, elongated windows for maximum views, cool colour tones and splashes of accent colours. Kitchens are equipped with integrated appliances and bathrooms are finished with imported Hans Grohe sanitary ware.
Northern Cape economic boom boosts property market
Jun 24, 2014
The economic boom unfolding in the Northern Cape has significantly boosted the demand for property, not only in the main centres, but also in the smaller towns. According to Seeff's principal for the greater Upington area, André Mostert, the agency is struggling to meet the demand for property as buyers and tenants flock to the area.
The property market statistics for urban areas such as Kimberley and Upington bear out the growth since 2009. In Kimberley, about 850 property transactions worth almost R692 million has been recorded for the past year; 43% more than the 593 sales to the value of just under R352 million in 2009. In Upington, transactions are up by about 48% from just 308 transactions to the value of under R124 million to 456 property transactions worth almost R200 million over the last year.
The boom was kick-started by the opening of new iron ore and manganese mines in the last three years that led to an influx of people and business growth to serve the sector and new residents, especially housing, says Myra Schonken of Seeff Kimberley. The Sol Plaatje University, the first in the province opened this year and Phakalane Airways has introduced flights between Kimberley and Upington and to Calvinia, De Aar, Kuruman, Sishen and Lanseria on a non-scheduled basis. Near Carnavon, the first of 64 antennas of MeerKAT, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project launched about a month ago.
Just outside Upington, the first 75MW solar farm, part of a multi-million rand energy solar project recently opened and business and property in the town is booming, says Mostert. The first super-regional shopping centre, Kalahari Mall with 70 top retail stores and restaurants is now open as is the new 360-bed Dr Harry Surtie Hospital. Tourism is also growing on the back of attractions such as the SKA project, Namaqualand flowers, Richtersveld and the KgalagadiTransfrontier Park. This, says Mostert, has also seen a return of buyers to villages such as Springbok and Port Nolloth on the coast.
Mostert says that while the shortage of especially affordable housing for sale and rental remains a challenge in Upington, two new residential developments are underway that will at least meet some of the demand. The first, Bella Rosa, with 310 plots is setting a new standard for the town with modern homes and will also be the first suburb with a Home Owners Association (HOA). Plot and plan options are available with a choice of finishes that include energy-efficient fittings and air-conditioning in the living areas. Prices start at R899,000 for two bedrooms and R1,05 million for three-bedrooms.
The second, Augrabies Park is an affordable housing development with 276 plots, sized from 400-900sqm. Plot and plan options are available and prices start at R549,000 for three bedrooms. This fully integrated development includes provision for business, community facilities and public open spaces. It is ideal for first time home buyers, says Mostert as full bonds are available to qualifying buyers.
There is renewed interest in the villages of the Sunshine Coast, especially around Port Alfred and Kenton-on-Sea where Seeff recently concluded the sale of a luxury holiday home for the record price of R10,9 million to a buyer from Johannesburg. The previous highest price in the village was R10,6 million, set in 2012.
Aside from residential buyers, holiday-home and retirement buyers are also heading back to the unspoilt villages in the area that stretches from Alexandria, past Kenton-on-Sea and Port Alfred to Kleinemonde, says Seeff's principal, Simon Oliver. Property options range from affordable to luxury and he says that while there has been sustained demand for affordable houses, luxury homes are now also attracting buyers. Although prices remain flat, sellers are now more confident about negotiating.
FNB's latest Property Barometer also points to an improvement in holiday home buying from 2% to 3% of all house sales for the six months ending March. The signs in our area are very encouraging right now - buyers are back and buying again, says Oliver. The interest is coming from across the board; from the neighbouring Western Cape Province to inland regions such as the Northern Cape, Free State, Gauteng and surrounds.
Getting here from the main centres requires either a road trip or a fly-in by plane to Port Elizabeth or East London and then a short car trip through the game reserves and past the beautiful dairy farms, says Oliver. With almost year-round sunshine and good weather, even during winter, it is worthwhile though, he says. The pristine beaches, Addo Elephant Park and number of malaria-free game reserves, many offering popular day trips, are some of the top attractions. Being in the centre of where the 1820-Settlers settled there is a wealth of history here. Grahamstown, a mere 60kms away, offers some of the best schools in the country and Rhodes University.
The area still offers excellent value for money complimented by good infrastructure and amenities, says Oliver. Port Alfred for example has a golf course and the Royal Alfred Marina offers homes with water frontage and private jetties. Some of the best value to be had, is vacant land with prices starting from R300,000 in Port Alfred and about R350,000 in Kenton, but can range up to R1,5 million and R2 million for a water-side location. Houses start at around R700,000, but you can expect to pay upwards of R1,5 million for partial river or sea views to about R7,5 million for a luxury water-side home.
Younger family buyers are homing in on the exclusive suburb of Welgemoed, largely for the location, views and value for money on offer according to Etienne Vermaak, Seeff's agent for the area. As one of the mature neighbourhoods of Cape Town's northern suburbs with spacious homes, large plots and lovely gardens, it has long been a favourite with older upper income buyers. There is now though a notable shift with almost 40% of buyers in the last year falling into the under-35 age group, many of whom are renovating the older homes, he says.
The attraction of this upmarket suburb is obvious, says the agent. Quiet and verdant, it is tops for location and convenient living. Nestled between the Bellville Golf Club and Tygerberg Nature Reserve, elevated amidst the Tygervalley Hills, many residences enjoy stunning views across the city and as far as the Stellenbosch mountains. The nearby N1 provides quick access into and out of city. Aside from the nature reserve and golf course, there are excellent schools and amenities along with home owners' associations and good security.
The migration of younger buyers into the suburb has been a boost for the market, says Vermaak. While it is a low-turnover suburb as owners tend to hold on, especially if they still have school-going children, the sales tempo is gathering momentum. In the last year for example, about 40 property transactions to the value of almost R105 million were recorded, about 25% up on the 2009-lows of 32 transactions. The investment value remains strong. In 2009, the average price for the suburb was around R2,28 million; today it is around R3 million, about 32% more.
Buying and renovating here makes perfect sense, says the agent. There are only a few vacant plots and these cost around of R2 million for 1,400-2,000sqm. With building costs at R10,000/sqm on average, a 600sqm home can set you back well over R8 million. In contrast, you could buy an existing home for upwards of R3 million to around R5,7 million for a 770sqm house on a plot of over 2,000sqm with an irrigated, landscaped garden. It includes two lounges (with fireplaces) and a dining room (all air-conditioned), three studies (one with cherry wood cabinetry and yellow-wood floors), a large Oak-wood kitchen, five bedrooms (including an au pair suite with a living area) and a one-bedroomed flat with a study, lounge, kitchen and garage along with an additional three-car garage.
Even at the top end, the value is excellent. A contemporary 600sqm double-storey architectural home that towers over landscaped gardens and an olive grove that leads into the nature reserve is for example on offer for R10,5 million. This is excellent value for luxury buyers looking for a stunning home on a large 2,500sqm-plus sized plot. It comes with expansive living rooms, five bedroom suites, stunning views and luxury finishes including fireplaces, under-floor heating, bespoke sanitary ware and bathroom fittings, Jarrah wood cupboards and marble and travertine floors. Outside are sheltered sandstone and balau terraces as well as a heated salt-water pool.
For the first time in years, sellers have much to smile about, says Seeff chairman, Samuel Seeff. While the country's economic news remains somewhat bearish, news on the property front is bullish right now. On the back of a significantly better mood in the residential market, price records are once again tumbling as trophy and top-end home buyers turn on the heat.
The agency holds some of the country's most expensive listings and boasts a significant share of the top end sales and, Seeff says market confidence is up and top-end buyers are back and buying. We have seen more cash coming into the market over the last few months and while still no boom, the top-end is showing some bounce back.
Across the board, our luxury areas are reporting significant growth in turnover and record sales in almost every upper end area. Our average selling price for this year to end April for top-end areas such as Cape Town's Atlantic Seaboard and Southern Suburbs, Sandton and Pretoria East in Gauteng and KZN's Dolphin Coast is up by 40% to almost R3,5 million from R2,5 million last year.
Cape Town's Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl leads the pack with about R1bn in real estate sales over the last year, says managing director for the area, Ian Slot. Activity includes several high value sales ranging from R20,5 million for a villa in Bantry Bay (Top Road) to a record price of R42,5 million for a 600sqm luxury apartment in Bantry Bantry (the previous highest price was R34,5 million, paid in June 2013) and R55,86 million for a luxury Clifton villa - both of which are the highest prices achieved this year. At the V&A Waterfront, Seeff sold a 255sqm luxury apartment in Palgrave that overlooks the One & Only for just under R24 million (incl. VAT), one of the highest prices ever paid for an apartment here.
Southern Suburbs managing director, Andy Todd says that the agency has already clinched several high value sales in Constantia of up to R17 million (Brommaert Avenue) and in Bishopscourt up to R20 million and R24 million for luxury homes in Canterbury and Kirstenbosch Drives respectively.
Seeff Sandton too has seen a good pick up at the top end of the market with several high value sales over the last few months, says managing director, Charles Vining. Aside from wealthy locals moving into and up in the suburbs, buyers from oil-rich African states such as Angola, Nigeria and the Congo continue to home in on what is billed as the continent's richest square mile.
Pretoria East principal, Gerhard van der Linde, says that the market in the exclusive suburbs of the area is very active. Here, Seeff recently sold a stunning 1,600sqm residence in Baileys Muckleneuk within days of listing it for the record price of R10,5 million - the previous highest price here was R9,3 million, paid in 2008. We had been working with a very discerning buyer for a few months and when the property came onto the market, we knew it was the right home, he says.
KZN Dolphin Coast principal, Andreas Wassenaar says that luxury homes in Ballito, Simbithi and Zimbali are once again attracting significant interest. Here, Seeff has just clinched the sale of a luxury beach house in Zimbali for the record price of R30,9 million. The previous highest sale wasR26,500,000, achieved in 2007. The accessibility of the area for wealthy Joburgers especially is driving demand and he says that land scarcity is likely to drive prices up in the near future.
The coastal holiday markets is also seeing a return of buyers especially Joburgers, says Seeff Plettenberg Bay principal, Kevin Engelsman. Here, Seeff has clinched several high value sales over the last year including a luxury beachfront home that sold for the record price of R45 million (the previous highest price was R24,5 million, set in 2011) for a trophy home in Beachy Head. Kenton-on-Sea principal, Simon Oliver says that buyers are once again honing in on holiday homes and his branch too recently concluded a record sale at R10,9 million - the previous highest price was R10,6 million, set in 2012. The firming of the market here means that sellers can expect to achieve prices far closer to asking price than was the can for the last few years.
The trend at the top-end of the market reflects the overall improvement in activity and it is now becoming a sellers' market in many areas, says Seeff. Prices have largely stabilised, even starting to climb in some instances. While the weaker rand has been a bust for the economy it has been somewhat of a boon for property, making it far more attractive to top-end and foreign buyers.
Selling conditions on the Atlantic Seaboard continue to improve and smart sellers are cashing in on the soaring demand, says Ian Slot, Seeff's managing director for the areas. Trade in the exclusive suburbs of Clifton, Bantry Bay, Fresnaye, Camps Bay and at the V&A Waterfront is at the highest levels since 2009. Properties are selling twice as fast and the difference between the asking and selling price has halved from well over 20% to about 10% on average.
About R4 billion (777 sales) in real estate has sold across the area in the last year, almost double the R2,3 billion (506 sales) recorded for 2009, says Slot. Activity in the R10 million-plus price sector has improved almost two-fold with just under 100 sales compared to 58 five years ago. At the top end, some 27 properties have sold priced upwards of R20 million to R42,5 million for a Bantry Bay apartment and R55,86 million for a Clifton villa; both sold by Seeff.
The average house prices continue climb and trumps the national average of 7%-8% as these prime areas continue to prove its investment value, continues Slot. In Clifton for example, the average house price was R14,4 million in 2009 and is now at around R17,2 million, an improvement of 19%. Fresnaye's exclusive homes now sell for around R7,8 million on average, up by 39% from R5,6 million five years ago. Bantry Bay now boasts an average price of R10,1 million, 26% more than the 2009-price of R8 million.
Buyer interest is almost across the board - local buyers are trading up and down while upcountry buyers are once again investing in second and holiday homes. Foreigners, mostly from the UK and Europe are once again investing their cash in property here while buyers from the continent, mostly the petro-rich African countries such as Nigeria and Angola continue snapping up homes in this exclusive real estate belt. Slot says that a high percentage of South African expats have also bought in the area over the last few months.
The pent up demand has been building over the last few years and the market is hot right now, he says. Moving from a buyers' market five years ago, conditions now most certainly favour serious sellers. On the back of wide-scale stock shortages, both in the sub-R10 million sector and at the top end of the market, sellers are now able to get better prices.
In areas such as Fresnaye and Bantry Bay, the demand for houses below R12 million exceeds supply, say agents, Cecily Sher, Karen Lurie and Colette Jackson. We are simply unable to keep up with the buyer enquiries and anyone looking to sell right now, is likely to find a buyer and a good price.
Camps Bay agents, Pola and Nadine Jocum and Chrys Mammous say that they have not seen the level of activity here in years. Properties are selling twice as fast; our team alone now sell an average of four properties per month. Five years ago, sellers were getting 20%-30% below asking price, they can now get within 10%. While 70% of all sales are still below R10 million, there is good interest at the top end with luxury homes selling for up to R15,9 million in Susan Avenue and R19,5 million in Hove Road; both sold by the agents. At the upper end of the market though, luxury buyers are not prepared to compromise on finishes, room sizes and views.
Even at the top end there is a shortage of stock, says luxury market specialist, Lance Cohen. Bantry Bay, Fresnaye and Clifton in particular is seeing strong demand and the agent has already made several top end sales this year ranging from R20,5 million in Bantry Bay (Top Road) to R29 million for a sea-view apartment in Cliffrock a luxury villa in Clifton Road for R55,86 million, the highest price paid on the Atlantic Seaboard this year.
Luxury sectional title agents, Adrian Mauerberger and Rosa Park say that big budget buyers, both residential and investors are once again shopping for apartments, especially in the R3-R9 million price range. Event at the top end, buyers are prepared to pay up to R42,5 million for a 600sqm luxury unit with a private pool and panoramic sea views in The Bantry. This is also a new record price for the suburb, significantly more than the previous highest price of R34,5 million was set in June last year. Top end Bantry Bay apartments now sell for around R70,000/sqm and R30,000-R45,000/sqm in Fresnaye while Sea Point sellers can expect around R27,000-R40,000/sqm.
Activity over the past few months at the V&A Waterfront have been at the highest levels since 2008, say agents, Ross Levin and Kim Bailey. Apartment sales for the first five months of this year already amounts to almost R140 million, 17% up on the R120 million sold during the same period last year. Buyers, mostly South Africans, have paid up to just under R24 million (VAT inclusive) for 255sqm apartment in Palgrave, recently sold by the agents. At R81,395/sqm, this is one of the highest prices ever paid for an apartment, indicative of the strong demand, say the agents. Here too, stock is in short supply. Sellers can expect to achieve average prices of R48,000/sqm on the Canals and R67,000/sqm at the Front Yacht Basin (FYB).
Despite the widely publicised stock shortages, there is still very little coming onto the market, says Slot. It is a real concern that sellers may be holding out in the hope of a significant uptick in prices, but given the economic climate, this is unlikely for the foreseeable future. While buyers are now prepared to pay a more, this depends on perceived value and sellers holding out now risk losing out on the ideal selling conditions.
There is renewed interest in the Sunshine Coast leisure markets according to Seeff's branches. Amidst a general improvement in the market, FNB's latest Property Barometer also points to an improvement in holiday home buying from 2% to 3% of all house sales for the six months ending March. The signs in our area are very encouraging right now - holiday makers are back and buying again, says Simon Oliver, principal of Kenton-on-Sea and the surrounding areas.
Seeff recently concluded the sale of a luxury holiday home in the village for the record price of R10,9 million to a buyer from Joburg - the previous highest price was R10,6 million, set in 2012. Aside from holiday home buyers, retirement buyers are also heading back to the unspoilt villages. The firming of the market and pick-up in demand in the price range up to R3 million, means that sellers can expect to achieve prices far closer to asking price than was the case for the last few years, says Oliver.
In Kenton-on-Sea for example, about 86 property transactions to the value of R79 million have been recorded for the last year, about 34% more than the 64 transactions worth R66 million of the 2013-year. In Port Edward too activity has improved from the lows of about 3-5 years ago to around 161 transactions to the value of almost R100 million in the last year. In Jeffreys Bay, about 651 property transactions worth R454 million have been recorded in the last year, about 10% more than in 2009.
The area stretches from Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay near the southern border past the surfing-mecca Jeffreys Bay through to Kenton-on-Sea and Port Alfred about mid-way between Port Elizabeth and East London. It is still largely a domestic tourist destination and the relatively central location makes it accessible within only a few hours' drive from the Western Cape and inland provinces such as the Northern Cape, Free State, Gauteng and the northern regions. You could also fly into the main centres such as Port Elizabeth and East London and then drive from there.
With almost year-round sunshine and good weather, even during winter, this coastal belt is renowned for its unspoilt landscape, stretches of beaches, warm ocean, rivers, lagoons, the Tsitsikamma National Park and scenic hiking and mountain biking trails. It is a haven for anglers and water sport enthusiasts and for nature and adventure lovers especially. It is also home to game reserves where the Big Five' can be seen as well as the Addo Elephant Park.
Jeffreys Bay ranks amongst the top surfing destinations globally and will once again host international surfers as part of the Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) that kicks off this year. Nearby, the Bloukrans River Bridge is the site of the highest bungee jump in the world. One of the country's largest wind farms, a 60-turbine, 138MW operation also recently opened just outside the village. Inland from Port Alfred and Kenton, Grahamstown hosts Africa's largest and most colourful cultural event, the National Arts Festival in July each year that draws well over 50,000 visitors.
While unspoilt, there is good basic infrastructure in the smaller villages and more developed infrastructure in Jeffreys Bay, says Gerrie Nieuwenhuis, principal for the area. Despite the improvement in buying activity, there are still many properties on the market that offers excellent value for money, even more affordable than houses in the cities. Prices are also still significantly lower than in other coastal regions such as the Cape South and West Coast and he says that it is still an opportune time to invest in a second home or vacant plot here right now.
In Jeffreys Bay for example, vacant plot prices start from as low as R150,000 for just over 600sqms and R170,000 in popular Paradise Beach and sought-after Wavecrest to around R450,000 for sea view plots. Holiday apartments and lock-up-and-go townhouses start at around R500,000 while mid-sized houses range upwards of R750,000 to about R1,8 million. Luxury homes range upwards of R2,5 million to R3,7 million for a water-side location at Marina Martinique and about R7,7 million for a 450sqm beachfront house in Wavecrest.
Port Alfred and nearby Kenton too is still offering exceptional value, says Oliver. There is plenty to do here. Port Alfred for example has a golf course and the Royal Alfred Marina where homes enjoy with water frontage and private jetties. Some of the best value to be had, is vacant land with prices starting from R300,000 in Port Alfred and about R350,000 in Kenton, but can range up to R1,5 million and R2 million for a water-side location. Houses start at around R700,000, but you can expect to pay upwards of R1,5 million for partial river or sea views to about R7,5 million for a luxury water-side home.
Mitchells Plain is a vibrant residential area with good infrastructure, schools and public transport. With house prices starting from as low as R200,000-R350,000, it is one of the most affordable residential belts in Cape Town, especially for first time buyers, says Seeff's manager for the area, Louise Mentoor.
With the flat house price growth and low interest rate, it is an opportune time to get first timers into their own homes, but buyers should to take note of what they need to secure bond finance, says Mentoor. Before shopping for a home, buyers should get information on the bank requirements and need to understand that it is a tedious process. A good credit record is vital as is the necessary paperwork and having cash available for a deposit and the transaction costs.
Vitally too is the need for the banks to relook their approach and credit granting policies pertaining to the area, she says. While the tightening of the credit granting criteria following the introduction of the credit regulations have been necessary, the outlook is now too conservative. The recent introduction of the credit amnesty also seemed to have led to a further tightened of the lending criteria. There is generally also a lack of transparency when it comes to the reasons for bond declines. More disclosure from the banks will enable real estate to better guide buyers and also sellers in terms of issues such as pricing and sell-ability.
There is a great willingness to buy and we can get anything up to ten offers on a property, but then only a single bond approval and generally only at about 80% of the asking price. In some instances, the buyer may be approved, but the transaction is declined due to building regulation problems, small plot sizes or over-exposure in certain areas. This really does need a fresh look by the banks, says Mentoor. Take Retreat Mews for example, it is a very neat and affordable sectional title complex with excellent financials, yet we are unable to secure bonds due to over-exposure.
We even find buyers who have been pre-qualified by a particular bank, declined by the same bank or granted a reduced amount. The deposit requirements are too high and Mentoor says that in an attempt to secure their own home, buyers will then take a personal loan at a higher interest rate than bond finance to fund the deposit. This makes little sense and only puts people further into debt.
Now is certainly an opportunity time for the lower end of the market to get onto the housing ladder and start building personal wealth, but Mentoor says that sadly many buyers have given up on trying to secure a bond and simply continue renting. In the Tafelsig area for example, more than half of the residents are renting. Yet, with homes costing as little as R200,000 here, there is every reason to encourage more home ownership.
In an attempt to work with local buyers and assist them with the issues pertaining to home ownership, Seeff together with Ooba are now conducting buyer pre-qualification sessions at their Mitchells Plain office, concludes Mentoor.
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.