False Bay real estate market enjoying boom

It’s no secret that estate living has become an increasingly significant sector of the residential market with growing demand across all segments, but these properties are also often assumed to be priced beyond the reach of most budgets, especially gated communities in sought-after areas.

But research by property data company Lightstone reveals that there are nearly 7 000 freehold and sectional scheme estates with around 355 000 active residential properties valued at R800-billion throughout the country, and just less than 10% are worth more than R3 million while more than 65% are – surprisingly – only in the R1m-plus category.

According to Lightstone, some 25% of the country’s gated communities are in the Western Cape. And from a return on investment point of view, properties in gated communities make up just over 5% of the total number of residential properties in South Africa, yet hold some 15% of the total market value.

According to Peter Stingl of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in False Bay and Noordhoek, the Lightstone research is absolutely correct and there is a wider price range in this sector than most people believe, which means it definitely pays to shop around.

“It’s true that in some of the better known, more established estates in areas like Constantiaberg, starting prices can be as high as R8m in developments like Silvertree and Steenberg. But there are comparable estates in the area where the entry level price is half that.

“For instance at Stonehaven which overlooks the Noordhoek Valley and has spectacular mountain and sea views, you can buy a spacious family home from R4m and the top end of that particular estate’s market is in the R9m range.”

Steve Thomas, franchise manager for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in False Bay and Noordhoek, says despite Cape Town’s reputation as the most expensive property market in SA, gated communities are indeed within the budgets of average middle-income households with two contributing salaries.

“Until about eight years ago, buyers had few options besides the older, pricier estates on the Constantiaberg side and across Ou Kaapse Weg in the False Bay area there were only four or five developments, but this is no longer the case.

“Buyers now have a choice of a variety of estates and closed communities, several of which are near the sea, including Chapman’s Bay, Stonehaven and Chapman’s Peak Estate, with another currently under construction in Capri and a host of developments in the pipeline for Kommetjie, not to mention Milkwood Estate and The Majestic in Kalk Bay.

“For average-income buyers willing to exercise a little patience and shop around, though, there are most definitely affordable properties in gated communities and estates. We recently sold two properties in gated communities in the Milkwood Park/Sunnydale areas for R1.35m and R1.85m.”

Thomas says changing lifestyle needs have been major driving factors in the growth of the estate sector, especially in False Bay.

“There was a time when living beyond Constantiaberg was considered too far from the CBD by most people, but in recent years more and more city dwellers are keen to move away from the urban frenzy and are happy to commute for longer in exchange for a more tranquil lifestyle.

“Growing numbers of people also now work from home and for them Wi-Fi connectivity is more important than roads or distance.”

Thomas says demand for this type of home is so great that they usually sell very quickly.

“We sold the Milkwood and Sunnydale area properties, as well as a three-bedroom home in Stonehaven Estate in the same week, with the deal concluded within seven days of listing on the Stonehaven property, which was more expensive.

Stingl says people are starting to realise that lower prices don’t mean lower standards.

“Exclusive estates like Stonehaven, an established eco-environment, offer the same first-class security, elegant luxury homes and pristine natural surrounds as the more expensive developments and should also be the investment goal for the gated community buyers who are currently buying one price band lower.”

Stonehaven’s idyllic setting on the mountain slopes overlooking Noordhoek, seamlessly integrated with the Table Mountain National Park, makes it a tranquil haven for nature lovers who can enjoy almost 5km of natural walkways meandering through the estate, which is also home to numerous fauna and flora.

Stingl says that with only two undeveloped stands remaining at Stonehaven, residents are also assured of peace and tranquillity with very little future construction disturbances.

Lew Geffen, chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says: “All things considered, a R5m estate home is considerably cheaper than a standard house at the same price when you take into account the high cost of maintaining large freehold properties in upkeep, staff and ever-increasing property rates and taxes.

“Home owners on estates are also free of the responsibility of maintenance and instead of spending weekends mowing the lawn, they have time to relax and enjoy the recreational and entertainment facilities in the area, including beaches, hiking trails and golf courses.

“Another draw-card is that estate and gated communities in most areas continue to offer the most consistent return on long term investment, which should continue to rise in tandem with demand, as well as in the short term as there is pressure on this segment in the rental market.”

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