Arabella Country Estate shifts focus to younger, family-oriented home buyers

With a Protea-run hotel focused on attracting a younger clientele and a residential estate seeing a trend towards family-oriented buyers, the demographics are shifting at Arabella Country Estate on the Bot River Lagoon near Hermanus, says Mike Bisset, Pam Golding Properties area manager.

Situated in Arabella Country Estate near Hermanus this four bedroom, three bathroom villa includes a splash pool and low maintenance garden. It is priced at R3.8 million

Developed from 2000, Arabella’s former German owners sold to Hospitality Property Fund a few years ago, and the Protea group was appointed to manage the hotel.

Since then, says Mike, there’s been a steady change in the hotel’s guest demographics – from predominantly European foreigners to a younger generation. “With weekend specials and adventure sports promoting the outdoor appeal of the location, Protea has made concerted efforts to draw younger people to the hotel. This has proven highly successful, attracting young couples and the fitness-conscious and as a result the hotel has become more accessible and family-oriented.”

He says in turn, the now mature and developed residential estate is appealing to younger, family buyers, mainly in the 35-45 age bracket, looking to purchase a leisure home for weekend getaways and longer breaks – with the advantage of sound medium to long term capital growth in their investment.

Priced at R7.9 million through Pam Golding Properties, this three bedroom, four bathroom home in Arabella Country Estate near Hermanus has an endless array of sophisticated features. It includes two separate garages, solar heated pool, separate guest suite and lift, scenic views and lots of privacy.

With primary schools in nearby Kleinmond and Hermanus and good secondary schools – including a Curro School, in the latter, others prefer to live permanently on the estate, either working from home or commuting to work locally or even in Gauteng as required.

“Approximately 40 of the total of 224 completed residences are permanently occupied,” says Bisset. Of the balance, half are owned by ‘swallows’ escaping the European winters and half South Africans, particularly from Cape Town and Gauteng, who use their houses for weekends and leisure breaks.

“Proximity to Cape Town is a distinct plus and golf also a big attraction. But ultimately, with the estate having reached maturity, with beautiful landscaped gardens, large expanses of pristine fynbos and wide open spaces, estate living at Arabella speaks for itself.

“The secure and peaceful ambience provides just the right environment for families – offset by the numerous action sports such as mountain biking, canoeing and trail running or walking. The spa is another drawcard, with all the health benefits. We sold a house to a permanent resident who uses the spa every day for health reasons and walks on the estate, saying this regime has greatly improved his quality of life.”

Priced at R2.6 million this three bedroom, two bathroom house in Arabella Country Estate near Hermanus is the most affordable house on the estate. Well-positioned and marketed through Pam Golding Properties, this villa includes a charming atrium.

Following the property market downturn in 2008, which severely impacted the housing market nationally, Arabella in turn experienced slow sales for about four years.  Says Bisset: “Then in 2013 we experienced a substantial increase in the value of transactions on the estate. While previously there were in the region of 25 houses for re-sale, this figure dropped below 10, indicative of the improved uptake. At present there are only six vacant plots available for purchase, competitively priced from R500 000 to R700 000 and averaging 735 square metres in size.

“Although the price of homes which have changed hands over the last two years averages around R4 million, sales prices currently range between R2.9 million and R7.5 million. While prices have not quite reached the peak of the property market’s boom years, recent sales have seen homes fetch prices of R6 million and R6.8 million.

“People sell for various reasons – mainly a change in lifestyle with children having grown up and gone to university or overseas. Interestingly, since 2013, we’ve noticed a number of early home buyers undertaking major renovations and expansion, which demonstrates the ongoing investor confidence in the estate.”

Arabella is also an extremely well-managed estate and financially sound, with a substantial reserve. Homeowners are entitled to join the Arabella Golf Club, but are not obliged to do so. Its success is due to the pristine condition in which it is kept by the owners, resulting in it being rated No 5 in South Africa. This in turn has attracted substantial traffic over the course by both South African and international golfers.

In addition to abundant birdlife, Arabella Country Estate is part of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve which is home to over 1800 plant species – 77 of which are unique.

Facilities on the estate include floodlit tennis courts, children’s playgrounds, putt-putt and jogging paths. The estate processes all its own water, refuse and sewage.

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