WORDS: KIT HEATHCOCK IMAGES: SUPPLIED & SHUTTERSTOCK
The Stellenbosch Winelands really has it all: beautiful scenery, small town communities and an enviable lifestyle. And semigration, foreign swallows and the constant demand for estate living mean that although there’s a slow-down and the market is price sensitive, there’s still movement in this area. New developments are being launched, current developments are still selling and proving to be reliable investments, according to local agents.
“The market under R3m is still fairly active and banks are keen to fund these buyers,” says Chris Cilliers, CEO and principal, Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty. “However, above this mark the market becomes increasingly sluggish the higher the price. There are still keen buyers, but they’re now spoilt for choice with value for money being the order of the day.”
Dinis Martins, Seeff licensee, Somerset West agrees. “This year Seeff has sold a couple of properties above R10m, so there’s certainly demand for the upper end of the market, provided the property is well priced. The luxury segment currently offers great value as many prices have been adjusted to the current economic climate.”
Another factor driving the top end of the market in the Helderberg area is that Somerset West is establishing itself as a burgeoning economic and investment hub and attracting more industry leaders according to Louise Varga, Pam Golding Properties area manager.
New developments currently attracting most sales are those that are competitively priced. “We can see improvement in enquiries whenever we list a better priced product in the various developments. Buyers are price conscious and looking for the better deal or more value for money,” says Jan Myburgh, principal, Harcourts Platinum. “All developers we partner with have, in consultation, redesigned at least one new product or offering that allowed for more competitive pricing to meet market demand for lower prices.” These include Cedar Hill in Parel Vallei with a new product under R7m, Central Park with offerings between R2,3m to R3m, and Hathersage R2,55m to R4m.
Seeff is seeing considerable interest in a new development of townhouses at 28 on St James in Somerset West priced at R1,795m to R2,35m, says Martins. “An astute investor buyer has the opportunity to lock in 2019 prices, but only has to take transfer in 2020. These homes are also likely to offer good capital appreciation over the next few years.”
In Stellenbosch, Seeff agent Leon Vermeulen is seeing most demand in student housing and developments that offer more affordable pricing, such as apartment complexes like Stellar, priced from R2,65m, and 95 on Bird.
“The move away from the urban hustle and bustle has been a growing trend for a number of years now, especially for families with school children who are looking for a more tranquil lifestyle,” Cilliers says. “More recently, in addition to families, we’ve also been fielding more enquiries from professionals who predominantly work remotely or from home and empty-nesters looking to ease more gently into their golden years.”
In the Paarl area she cites Boschenmeer, and Val de Vie as estates with high demand in this category and De Zalze Winelands Golf Estate outside Stellenbosch. “Val de Vie in Paarl has catered specifically to this growing trend by building office blocks on the estate which residents can rent and, for those who need a less formal space, they also have a shared office facility.”
Clive Hartman, Seeff Paarl, says they’re still seeing an influx of semigration buyers from the Cape Metro as well as upcountry. New developments include “hot off the press” Wildepaarde Estate, across the road from Boschenmeer, with 118 plots and a choice of three- or four-bedroom house options.
Another new development in Paarl benefitting from the semigration trend is Le Parc, Paarl. “We’ve noticed the decline in the overall general market, and are happy that we’re still trading a fair amount of property even in times like these,” says Martin van Rooyen, Matterhorn Property. Estate security, quality of finishes and the offering of an on-site preschool are the elements that set them apart, he says.
Launching in 2020
Despite the slow-down there’s a fair amount of optimism going into next year. Harcourts is involved in planning four new developments launching in the next three to six months, ranging from sectional title units in central Somerset West to a freehold secure estate with 16 properties in Parel Vallei. In the Stellenbosch area Pam Golding Properties will be launching Longlands next year, a village of 320 residential properties with communal facilities 6km from the town.
“Don’t waste a crisis or opportunity; create wealth by buying in a slower market,” suggests Martins. “When the market improves – which it will as the property market is historically cyclical – then those buyers will be rewarded for acting now and identifying the good buying opportunities.”
Better pricing and buyers looking for value for money, are the driving force behind current sales. Demand for estate living is still clearly on the increase and estates in general are giving a better return on investment than freestanding property JAN MYBURGH, PRINCIPAL, HARCOURTS PLATINUM