Big-ticket buyers go bargain hunting in luxury estates

Other than affordability, the main drivers of the real estate market these days are low-maintenance living and higher security, and this continues to fuel the popularity of upmarket golf and lifestyle estates as well as other gated complexes.

In fact, says Lew Geffen, chairman of Sotheby’s International Realty in SA, buyers in search of luxury homes are currently flocking to estates in the realisation that home prices are in many cases still below 2008 levels – and often well below those for comparable properties in the older, blue-chip suburbs.

“In the iconic Dainfern estate north of Johannesburg, for example, there is a wide choice of homes available now for less than R5m, and almost 120 properties have been sold in the past year, compared with about 100 in the previous 12 months.

“In the Silver Lakes estate near Pretoria, it would have been virtually impossible three years ago to have found a home for less than R3m, but we have recently sold several luxury properties there at around the R2,5m mark - and we can see that buyers are avidly seeking out similar ‘bargains’ in top estates all around the country.”

At the Atlantic Beach estate near Melkbosstrand, he notes, home prices range all the way up to about R11m or R12m, but currently there are also at least eight large homes available for under R5m - the buyers of which will also enjoy the proximity to the beach and magnificent views of Table Mountain.

“For those looking for luxury on the Garden Route, we currently have at least 20 upmarket homes available for less than R5m at the beautiful Pezula Estate overlooking the Knysna Lagoon, while in KZN, there are many excellent estate purchase or upgrade opportunities in Ballito and Mount Edgecombe for less than R3m.”

There are many more examples, Geffen says, “and it is also important to note that many of those buying into the top-rated estates are currently not only paying less than they might have expected for their new homes, but also getting a lot more luxury features for their money – from gourmet kitchens fitted with top-of-the-line appliances through central vacuum systems, underfloor heating and full home automation to home theatres, libraries and additional guest flats or staff quarters.

“Even better news is that many of the larger estates now incorporate upmarket apartment and townhouse developments which facilitate entry for younger buyers who will become the upgraders of the future, and also accommodate older buyers seeking to downsize to homes on estates that offer them additional security and less maintenance.”

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