Returning expats drawn to Knysna

The popular coastal town of Knysna on the scenic Garden Route is attracting returning South African expatriates looking to acquire primary residences, reports Ling Dobson, Pam Golding Properties area principal.

“During the holiday periods in 2012 to date we’ve received numerous enquiries from international tourists, many of whom are South Africans wanting to be back on home soil, and looking to acquire homes mainly in the R3-R4 million price range. While these are mainly from the UK, this year we find they are returning here from a wide range of European countries as well as America.

“We’ve also noticed a growing trend towards young families seeking to live in Knysna, while the main breadwinner commutes on business. They are drawn by the more secure, healthier way of life, and this lifestyle appeal also strikes a chord for international families, who tend to rent a home before buying - while their children attend private schools in the area. The reason is that they prefer to experience the lifestyle here first, before making a purchase decision. Some of the schools in the area are Oakhill School, Knysna Montessori School and Knysna Christian School,” says Dobson.

Pam Golding Properties (PGP) also reports growing interest among black buyers from Gauteng, who seek to acquire holiday homes, and who initially visit the area during the festive season, renting property from R5 000 to R7 000 per day in Pezula Private Estate. Says Dobson: “These are astute purchasers who want good value and are investing for the future. Generally they are looking in the R3-R5 million price range, at homes located in golf estates and private residential estates.  The biggest draw card for home buyers is Knysna’s appealing way of life and strong sense of community, coupled with its good year-round climate, which gives the town broad appeal. While about 60 percent of our buyers are from the Knysna area and surrounds, approximately 20 percent are from Gauteng, 10 percent from the Eastern Cape and 10 percent from the Cape Town area.”

Dobson says PGP sales for the March to June (2012) trading period reflect an increase of close to 50 percent in turnover compared with last year. “Since the beginning of March we have concluded 13 sales to a total value of R29.8 million - which reflects an increase of 14 percent in units over the same period last year - and with an average selling price for PGP of R2.3 million. Currently there are sound buying opportunities available, and as a result we are seeing increasing interest from those going into retirement, taking advantage of the slower market prices at present. They are generally seeking homes in the R2-R3 million price bracket, while we have also had quite a few sales in the R3.5-R4.5 million price band. At Pezula Private Estate vacant land is currently available, well priced, as a recent sale reflected R1.2 million for an erf of 4000sqm,” she adds.

Renowned for its annual Oyster Festival (6-15 July 2012), Knysna recently enjoyed a highly successful Literary Festival and also a Speed Festival Hill Climb. “There is always some activity for the family, mostly outdoors, and are known for our culinary attractions with good restaurants and healthy food – including a farmers’ market on Saturdays with only holistically grown foods. There are also many cheese makers in the area, and several vineyards,” adds Dobson.

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