Lower prices boost George sales

“In the boom years from 2003 to 2008, prices rose rapidly in George and nearby towns such as Wilderness and Sedgefield, as well as in the luxury golf estates dotted along the Southern Cape coast,” says Tim Kirby, owner of the Sotheby’s International Realty franchise in George.

“The whole area essentially became a playground for the affluent with plenty of money to spend on upmarket second homes. But now, in the aftermath of the recession, it has become much more accessible to those of average means, including many local salary-earners who previously could not afford to buy their own homes here.”

The global financial crisis and the credit crunch that followed, he explains, caused the second-home market to collapse, with the result that many owners who needed or wanted to sell their existing properties in George and the surrounding areas had to lower their prices.

“Consequently, one can now once again buy solid, older homes in George for around R850 000 to R1,2m, which is affordable for those on local salaries and also attractive to couples and families keen to move from bigger cities and enjoy a more peaceful lifestyle in beautiful surroundings. Indeed, there is no shortage of potential buyers, and well-priced properties in this range are selling quickly.”

Meanwhile, he says, there are exceptional opportunities available currently for those who would like to buy into a gated estate. “In many cases serviced stands in security estates here are being sold now for less than they originally cost, and prices range from as little as R80 000 to about R650 000.”

Another good option, Kirby says, are lock-up-and-go holiday homes on the coast, which will become increasingly hard to find in years to come – especially in sought-after locations such as Wilderness - due to development restrictions in the Southern Cape and new coastal building legislation.

“Among those we currently consider excellent longer-term investments of this kind are the 14 three-bedroom, two-bathroom units in the secluded Wilderness Milkwood gated estate, which are available at prices from R1,2m (see photo).
“And at the exclusive Fynbosstrand sea-farm development near Still Bay, we are currently marketing stands for around R750 000 and built homes in the Cape ‘fisherman’s cottage’ style for around R3,5m

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