The super-luxury sector of the market offers one of the best buying opportunities in over a decade and many sellers are keen to negotiate
According to Samuel Seeff, chairman, Seeff Property Group, there’s a notable uptick in activity in the super luxury areas since late last year and Seeff has concluded a number of high value sales above R20m. These include R40m and R36m in Fresnaye; four sales in Camps Bay (R32,38m, R25,55m, R22,5m and R21,5m); R20,2m in Bantry Bay; R45m at the Waterfront; R23,5m in Bishopscourt; R20m in Constantia Upper; R55m in Plettenberg Bay – one of the highest prices achieved, and R24,5m in Zimbali, the highest price in the last year.
After an initial quiet period following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, it seems that wealthy buyers globally are looking for better surroundings to spend their lockdown periods in, he says. The Los Angeles Times, for example, reports that ultra-rich Americans are still buying $50m homes (±R720m) while The Guardian reports that London’s super-prime luxury property market grew, and was the world leader in 2020. Further south, the Financial Times reports that super-luxury sales in Sydney rose by 42% compared to 2019.
Expats investing in SA
While the top-end revival of the market is spearheaded by foreign buyers, it’s also South African expats who are showing confidence, says Seeff. Although they’re buying predominantly in coastal areas such as Cape Town, Plettenberg Bay and the KwaZulu-Natal coast, sales are also seen in the suburbs. It seems that foreign buyers are showing more confidence. Seeff says this is because they’re not paying much attention to the current ‘political noise’ and are focusing on taking advantage of the great value and opportunity in the top end of the market. For local high net-worth buyers, this is a missed opportunity, considering that you’re currently buying at the same prices as three years ago. Seeff says luxury property continues to offer an excellent store for wealth.
SA offers exceptional value
The value growth of the Atlantic Seaboard is well reported. Consider for example that, ten years ago, nothing sold above R20m in Camps Bay. These days, it’s home to the highest volume of R20m+ sales. South Africa boasts the most exclusive super-luxury market in Africa with spectacular properties in various areas and five of the most exclusive suburbs on the continent.
Seeff was a recent guest presenter on South Africa’s luxury homes to the National Association of Realtors in America (NAR) with 14 million members, where he showcased some of the most spectacular listings in the $1,5m to $14m (±R21,5m to R202m) bracket. The moderator of the webinar remarked on the outstanding value considering that a modest apartment in a trendy area in the USA would easily set you back $1m (R14,4m). Seeff says that, when you look at what this buys you in South Africa, it’s understandable why foreign buyers are so attracted to the country.
Property market alive and well
Despite the predicted Covid-19 gloom and doom, there has been no collapse of the property market. In fact, Seeff says that overall, activity in the market remains above pre-Covid levels with some areas doing better compared to 2019. Many areas are achieving record sales and prices and the latest deeds office and sales data shows the top ten suburbs in the country now all command an average selling price above R10m (see infographic below).