Affordable seaside living in the Strand

The dream of Cape coastal living often comes with a hefty price tag – yet acquiring a home that is close to the beachfront and still accessible to Cape Town and the Winelands, need not necessarily cost a small fortune.  

Pam Golding Properties (PGP) reports that the town of Strand (located on the False Bay coastline next to Somerset West and Gordon’s Bay), offers extremely competitive prices for buyers and good opportunities for investors, with two-bedroomed apartments available from as little as R400 000 and family homes from R1.5 million.  It also enjoys the very best of the seaside lifestyle, being located alongside one of the safest swimming beaches in the country.  The introduction in January this year (2012) of a new bus route linking the town with nearby Stellenbosch (via Somerset West) has also opened up its property market to new potential buyers.

PGP’s area manager Linda Killick says the bus currently offers a morning peak departure and afternoon peak return, daily.  “This means that students can commute to the University of Stellenbosch well in time for first lectures, and return home after accessing the libraries and participating in their afternoon labs or sporting and social activities,” she says.  “For those working in Stellenbosch, the buses are also timed perfectly for standard office hours.  Costs range from R13.75 to R25 per trip, depending on frequency of use and purchase of a clip-card.  While the service is still in its infancy, the frequency of buses will be increased if demand grows.  We are very hopeful that this will occur, as it will make a home in Strand an extremely viable option for students, academics, teachers and workers based in Stellenbosch.  In these days of expensive petrol and vehicle running costs, not to mention traffic congestion and limited on-campus accommodation, it’s a very practical and time-efficient alternative.”

Prices in Strand are among the most affordable in the greater Helderberg area, and one can obtain a two-bedroomed apartment in the town from just under R400 000.  A mid-level family home with a well-sized garden and a garage can cost around R1.5 million, while a larger home with more luxurious finishes will not cost more than R2.5 million.  At the very top end of the market, a luxury beachfront penthouse can be purchased for approximately R5 million to R6 million.  PGP recently sold a two-bedroomed apartment located just two blocks away from the sea, for R820 000 – to an investment buyer.  The town has a steady demand for rentals, especially in the sectional title sector, making it a particularly attractive option for investors.

“Rental prices are also very competitive,” says Killick, “adding to the appeal for students.  One can rent a one-bedroomed apartment for approximately R2000 per month – that’s about half of what one might pay in Stellenbosch itself.  A larger two-bedroomed apartment typically attracts rentals of around R3000 per month, and a two-bedroomed townhouse with a garden and double garage can fetch R4500 to R5000. Not many family homes are available for rental, but those that are can fetch between R7500 and R8500 per month.  On the beachfront itself, one can rent a two-bedroomed apartment for anywhere between R4600 and R7700 per month.”

Affordability is a key concern amid current market conditions, and sales figures for the town indicate that the highest demand is in the market for starter apartments and mid-level family homes.  Lightstone figures for the 12 months ending May 2012 indicate that the most popular price range was from R800 000 to R1.5 million, with 134 sales concluded (across all agencies), followed by the bracket from R400 000 to R800 000, which saw 74 properties change hands.  “That’s a lot of activity for a relatively small area,” says Killick.  “PGP’s experience is that the highest demand has come from existing local residents who are looking to increase their standard of living, or who want to downscale after their children have left home.  The town is also popular with retirees, including those moving to the coast from inland areas.  But what is particularly gratifying is its growing appeal to young families, who are recognising that this is a quality environment for children with a superb lifestyle on offer.”

The lifestyle is indeed enviable, says PGP’s MD for the Boland and Overberg regions, Annien Borg.  “The beautiful main beach, Melkbaai Beach, is known for its safe swimming conditions and relatively warm water, while the section known as The Pipe offers excellent conditions for surfers to enjoy.  Facilities on or near the beachfront include the super-tube complex at Dune Park, and a huge tidal pool at Harmony Park. A wealth of watersports including kayaking, stand-up paddling, angling or windsurfing can also be enjoyed in the area.  Besides these beach-based activities, Strand offers excellent sports facilities, including a golf course, tennis and squash clubs, rugby fields and an Olympic-sized heated pool.”

Strand has two primary schools and a good-quality government high school, while a number of private options are available in Somerset West, just 15 minutes away.  The Strand Private Hospital is also linked to that town’s Vergelegen Medi-Clinic, offering a full range of high-quality medical care.  The town has a number of smaller shopping malls and supermarkets scattered in its suburbs, but also offers easy access to the extensive Somerset Mall for a wider range of major retail options.

Borg says the cherry on top is Strand’s accessibility.  “Central Cape Town can be reached within 40 minutes via the N2 highway,” she says, “while the R44 links straight to the Winelands, with Stellenbosch just 22km away.  The coastal road of Clarence Drive provides quick access to popular towns like Betty’s Bay and Hermanus, ideal for weekend getaways, while both Somerset West and Gordon’s Bay are almost on the doorstep.”

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