Renewed appetite for holiday home buying on the Garden Route

The Garden Route is one of the most beautiful scenic regions in the country with a selection of fine holiday and investment properties that stretches from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape and includes George, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Jeffrey's Bay.

It is popular with South African and foreign buyers and as a primarily second home market has felt the pinch of the global economic, and consequent property market slump over the past few years. This year however, there seems to be some renewed interest in holiday and investment homes here especially in Plettenberg Bay where a number of high value sales have been concluded by Seeff this year, says Seeff Licensee, Kevin Engelsman.

Following a somewhat pedestrian pace insofar as demand and concluding any noteworthy sales transactions is concerned in the past few years, Engelsman says that the market is looking a lot more positive this year. There certainly seems to be some appetite for holiday home buying again, especially from Gauteng. We have sold 72 properties, 100% more than the 36 units sold in the preceding year and the Rand-value of our sales is up to R150 million, 120% more than the R75 million sold in the preceding period. While we sold four properties to foreign buyers (Norway, Switzerland and the UK), the majority of our sales - well over 80% (32 properties) - were to South African buyers; 17 of which were Johannesburg buyers. Other out-of-town buyers ranged from Port Elizabeth, Durban and Kimberley and five Capetonian buyers who invested in holiday homes here, says Engelsman.

In addition to holiday homes that were sold for R4,5 million and R5,8 million respectively to Joburg buyers recently, we have also just concluded a significant R24 million sale to a Johannesburg buyer says agent Alet Ollemans. This is also the highest price here since 2007 and follows on the heel of two high value sales of holiday and investment homes to Joburg buyers earlier in the year; a R16 million sale and a joint sale of R15,5 million.

Buyers continue to look for good value and seem to want to invest in a holiday home with the intention of renovating and upgrading. Properties that are priced in line with what buyers are prepared to pay are selling now, but Ollemans says that overpriced properties are just not selling. Properties with a good location and stunning views, priced below the R8 million mark has been most in demand, but our sales show that there is renewed interest in luxury homes.

Plettenberg Bay is one of the premier coastal markets in the country and offers a selection of properties to suit all buyers, says Ollemans, not just those with multi-million budgets. For example, our current stock includes sea-view apartments priced below R1 million and stunning holiday homes that range from R3,75 million for a four-bedroomed home in Seaside Longships to R4,995 million for a five-bedroomed home in Beachy Head that overlooks Robberg Beach.

At the top end, big budget buyers can look at an award-winning architectural home framed by the backdrop of the Tsitsikamma Mountains on the left and the Robberg Nature Reserve on the right and with stunning sea views. The home offers luxurious living spaces and finishes and loads of extras such as a cinema room, wine cellar, gym room with a sauna, a penthouse suite and a butler's quarters and is on the market for R39 million. All five bedrooms in the home have en-suite bathrooms. Floor to ceiling retractable glass doors open onto a terrace with a large entertain area and bar that overlooks a rim-flow swimming pool.

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