Historical Simon’s Town a treasure trove for savvy investors

One of the oldest and most historically significant suburbs is Simon’s Town which dates back almost three centuries and is renowned for its beautiful historical buildings and heritage homes, many of which have been beautifully restored and now command top dollar.

Simon's Town Marina

So says Beverley Goldhill of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, who has just listed one of the suburb’s best-known historical treasures – a pristinely restored 1902 Victorian house that was for many years the Whale Master’s residence.

“Properties like Garland House are attracting a growing niche market of investors who appreciate their inimitable character and charm, especially when authentically restored – and sympathetically finished with modern comforts and conveniences.

“Although the average sale price of houses in Simon’s Town hovers around R3.5 million, most of the restored heritage homes fall into the upper segment of the market, well above the median price.”

Goldhill says the historical authenticity of these homes as well as the heritage of the village which forms the heart of Simon’s Town, are subject to regulations to maintain the town’s character.

“To preserve the building’s architectural integrity, renovations of heritage homes and new builds on the historical mile of Simon’s Town have to comply with exacting guidelines, and plans need to be approved by the Simon’s Town Heritage Advisory Committee as well as the City Council.

“The guidelines are comprehensive and don’t only apply to major structural alterations but encompass all aspects, down to the materials used and even many of the finishes.

“To avoid being caught up in costly delays, you must never assume that seemingly basic changes like replacing a wooden sash window with an aluminium frame is likely to be uncomplicated, depending on the architectural style. And façades usually cannot be altered at all.”

Steve Thomas, franchise manager for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in False Bay and Noordhoek, says: “Considering the pedigree of many of the historic buildings in Simon’s Town, many of which were designed by renowned architects, these strict regulations and guidelines do serve a very important purpose.

“Primarily, they are intrinsic to the preservation of the area’s character and history but the spin-off is that this, in turn, positively affects the property market and ultimately underpins better returns on investment.”

Thomas says the benefits of the preservation of Simon’s Town’s distinctive character is clearly reflected in the suburb’s growing  popularity as a residential destination as well as its increasing appeal to discerning buyers wanting to invest in historical homes and those seeking a lifestyle change or second home.

“More and more people are starting to realise its confluence of attractions, from the laid-back village lifestyle to the excellent value the suburb offers compared to similar beachfront suburbs in other parts of Cape Town.”

Lew Geffen, chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says that the increased demand and market buoyancy is corroborated by Deeds Office data.

“In rand value, Simon’s Town achieved record sales last year, despite the general market downswing which made itself felt after the second quarter in response to the country’s growing socio-economic instability.

“One of the most significant driving factors is the changing buyer demographic,” says Geffen.

“In addition to the influx of families from upcountry, we are seeing a growing number of young investors under 35 as well as more “swallows” who are discovering that False Bay offers a more laid-back lifestyle than the city and Atlantic seaboard with access to an array of attractions and amenities.”

The quaint village is populated by eclectic shops and characterful cafes and restaurants, interspersed by several fascinating museums. Warmer waters can be enjoyed at two swimming beaches, one of which is also home to an African penguin colony and the area’s north-facing aspect offers a warmer more temperate climate.

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