The summer season has ushered in a revived interest in Knysna residential property

Peter Southey, the Rawson Property Group’s franchisee for Knysna, said that it has become evident that upcountry and foreign second home buyers are once again emerging from the ‘woodwork’ and beginning to take an interest in what many have previously thought to be rather expensive homes for a holiday area.

This interest, said Southey, was especially evident over the December/January holidays when a near-record number of visitors flocked into Knysna and sales enquiries at his office rose by 50%.

“Two of our most upmarket areas – Leisure Island and Thesen Island – are now experiencing stock shortages, something which I, for one, had not anticipated for at least another year.  We have also clearly seen stock shortages in the sub R1,5 million bracket where demand remains as strong as ever.”

Nevertheless, added Southey, although homes in these precincts can fetch anything from R3 million to R10 million, on average Knysna homes are still selling at prices which are low by most standards.  The reason for this, he said, is that the 2009/2011 recession hit the Knysna area especially hard.

“As happens in a recession,” said Southey, “second homes are always the first ‘superfluous’ assets to be offloaded and the truth is, not only that Knysna has a great many such homes but it has also not yet recovered from the downturn which the sell-off provoked.”

What therefore can one get at Knysna in what Southey describes as a heavily discounted market?

It is, he said, still possible to buy an entry level Knysna home at R1,3 million and the majority of fast selling homes are in the R1,5 million to R2,5 million bracket.

Above this level most agents have 50 or more homes still waiting to be sold.  However, Southey predicted that anyone buying here will experience steady capital appreciation over the next five years.

“If one factor about our property market is now indisputable,” he said, “it is that the low point of the downturn has long since passed and the factors which have traditionally made Knysna South Africa’s number one choice as a retirement and holiday destination - its near-perfect climate, its attractive lagoon and the high standard of its schools, retail and entertainment facilities – are once again making Knysna property sought after and valuable.”

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