Hermanus residential market makes a strong comeback

The residential market in Hermanus has made a strong recovery from its low base three years ago, and looks to be on the brink of its first boom since 2007.

John Quincy, managing director of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Hermanus says: “The market is very active at the moment and, although Hermanus has always been very seasonal, we have experienced good sales figures through the winter over the past two years.

“Sandbaai, Onrus, Vermont and Westcliff have been especially active in the lower to mid-market sectors as they still offer good value for money, and at the upper end of the market we have seen a lot of activity at Fernkloof Golf Estate and Voelklip which are both very sought-after at the mid to top-end segment of the market.

“We recently experienced stock shortages in these areas, which is a very different scenario to six years ago when an abundance of second homes flooded the market whereas demand dwindled considerably in comparison.

“It was definitely a buyers’ market for a few years after the 2008 credit crunch, but we are now seeing a promising turn-around with certain areas stabilising well enough to swing the tide into a seller’s market again.”

According to Quincy, the long-term rental market has also picked up considerably in Hermanus over the past two years and the exponential increase in demand has resulted in a notable stock shortage as well as a spike in average monthly rentals.

“What has remained fairly consistent is the holiday rental market which has always been extremely popular and continued to offer good returns for owners over the season periods.”

Almost 80 percent of the properties in this well-established seaside town are still freehold but this is slowly changing in the wake of the market recovery.

Quincy says: “Although the lower to middle freehold segment of the market has produced the most sales over the last year, there are a couple of new sectional title developments due for release later this year and we have seen a revival of older developments that were launched during the crash in 2008.

“There are also a few parcels of land that have been earmarked for development, which I see being launched over the next three years.”

According to Lew Geffen, chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, the demographic in Hermanus is also changing as an increasing number of investors are now looking to buy properties to live in rather than as second homes or for holiday rentals.

“Hermanus has always been a popular retirement destination for retired people from upcountry and surrounding bigger cities, but we are now experiencing growing interest from families looking to move to Hermanus because of the safety and quality of life it offers as well as its proximity to Cape Town.

“The local schools are known to offer a high standard of education and sporting facilities and, with the addition of a Curro private school, Hermanus is becoming increasingly popular as a great town to raise a family.

In fact, after the Atlantic seaboard in Cape Town, Hermanus is the next most popular choice among investors from upcountry who want to move to the Cape.

Recent research by Lightstone revealed that the Hermanus suburb of Eastcliff is fourth on the list of the top five most expensive addresses in the Western Cape – with the other four streets all being on the exclusive Atlantic seaboard.

“Eastcliff is a very popular area with older, more established residents and non-residents who know the area. It is a very central leafy suburb which is close to the schools, town and famous whale watching cliff paths,” says Quincy.

Although Hermanus is best known as a holiday town, it is also home to two busy industrial areas, one of which is more of a business park that borders the site of a new shopping mall which is due to break ground in 2017.

It also offers excellent amenities and all the major grocery retailers have a footprint in and around the town. Hermanus provides many activities for families and outdoor enthusiasts, including whale-watching, deep sea diving, golfing, mountain biking and hang gliding.

Quincy says: “Ultimately, efficient management over the years has resulted in a town that is popular with visitors and locals because of its natural beauty, and has also won prestigious awards and accolades which include Blue Flag beach status, the Blue Drop award for water quality, Most Productive Municipality and the Greenest Town.”

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