Innovation is key to staying on top, says Val de Vie’s Ryk Neethling

There’s a saying in the sports world that it’s easier to get to the top than stay at the top, which is why New World Wealth naming Val de Vie Estate as South Africa’s best for the third year in a row is so gratifying.

World-class polo fields at Val de Vie Estate have been played by Prince Harry and myriad formidable international competitors. The fields, modern stabling, professional staff, sand track and more than 40km of outrides through the vineyards but within the safe confines of the Estate, make the setting a horse-lover’s dream. There are also running trails, cycling trails, swimming pools and an award-winning 18-hole Signature Jack Nicklaus Golf Course to keep residents entertained and out in the Winelands sunshine. Picture: Val de Vie Estate
That’s the reaction of the exclusive Paarl estate’s Marketing Director Ryk Neethling. The survey, by global financial institution AfrAsia Bank and research group New World Wealth, rates luxury estates on criteria that includes design and space, communal gardens and parks, maintenance, location, security, scenery, activities and facilities.

The award comes just more than a year after a landmark property deal amalgamated two of the country’s most sought-after residential lifestyle estates, with Pearl Valley and Val de Vie becoming a single luxurious, self-sustaining community in the Winelands known as Val de Vie Estate.

Former Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Neethling says he is extremely proud of the estate’s management team and staff.

“Being revolutionary and having the vision to constantly innovate is the difference between average and outstanding and that’s what makes the Val de Vie team so effective.

“They’ve accomplished a huge amount in the past few years and our ventures are getting more and more ambitious, including a project to ensure future water security.”

Neethling says another area of critical importance is variety in the lifestyle offering to prospective investors.

“Val de Vie is the final word in luxury from start to finish, but each area tells a different story as you move through the estate. There are apartments, houses of all sizes, hotel accommodation and pristine stretches of farmland, each providing a different feel and experience.

“Val de Vie isn’t just an estate; a secure collection of homes. It’s a variety of destinations in one location, with the additional USPs of top equestrian and polo facilities, as well as a Signature Jack Nicklaus golf course.

“The estate’s economies of scale make it affordable for us to undertake ground-breaking projects like building a bridge that will cross the Berg River, linking with the R45 and drastically reduce commuting time to Stellenbosch, the airport and Cape Town’s CBD. We’ve also been able to launch the Val de Vie Foundation, which is extremely well funded and will empower our greater community for decades to come.”

Overlooking three fairways with views across to the iconic Simonsberg mountains, this immaculate four-bedroomed home in the Pearl Valley section of award-winning Val de Vie Estate is on the market for R12.75 million. The expansive master bedroom suite has space for a private sitting room and the en-suite bathroom has an atrium accessed from the shower. Two en-suite bedrooms occupy another wing past three separate public rooms, while a fourth en-suite bedroom perches atop the garage and is perfect for guest or staff accommodation. The pool is also heated to afford residents the luxury of year-round dips. Picture: Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty

Neethling also commended the Drakenstein Municipality: “They’ve been extremely dynamic and great to work with, helping to facilitate our success.”

Dr George Cilliers, Co-Principal of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the Winelands, says property values have notably increased since the merger of the two estates last year and continue to rise despite general market conditions.

The price of vacant ground, he says, has shown the most growth.

“In 2015 developers plots on the Pearl Valley side sold for between R800 000 and R1.9m. The same plots are now selling for between R1.8m and R3m. Residential properties prices have increased by as much as 40% t0 60% in some parts of the Estate, depending on the nature of the property.

“Because of the variety of real estate on offer there is a wider buyer demographic, including young executive families, empty nesters, retirees, international swallows and investors who want to take advantage of the rewarding buy-to-let opportunities.

“They are attracted by the ultra-luxurious facilities and high level of security on the estate as well as the excellent local schools and medical facilities nearby, and the easy access to Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek, Cape Town and the airport.

“There are still developer’s erven and plot-and-plan options priced from about R3.9m up to R13m, although the developer’s stock is selling out quite fast. Additionally, a selection of existing homes is being marketed with prices varying between R4m and R35m.”

According to the New World Wealth survey, recent trends in estate living include a rise in demand for retirement estates.

Neethling’s final comment is in relation to retirement living, and it’s a simple: “Watch this space!”

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