South African buyers brave the winter to snap up Atlantic Seaboard trophies

Freezing weather has not been the usual off-season deterrent to property sales in Cape Town this winter, as evidenced by a flurry of sales just concluded in Camps Bay by Sotheby’s International Realty.

These include a property sold for R22m and seven other homes sold for an average of R9m each by Thelma Sandeman of the new Sotheby’s International Realty Atlantic Seaboard franchise.

“In fact we concluded more than R70m worth of sales in Camps Bay just in July, which is usually the worst sales month for Cape Town, and we have seen sales all along the Atlantic Seaboard increase steadily since we re-launched this franchise three months ago,” says Lew Geffen, chairman of Sotheby’s International Realty in SA.

The Atlantic Seaboard franchise is now under his personal direction and is fuelled by the infrastructure of the Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty operation in Johannesburg, with its 200 agents and 40 Admin staff. The CEO of the Cape operation is Brendan Miller, who merged his former company, Better Homes, with Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty earlier this year.

“All the buyers in the recent Camps Bay transactions were South African,” notes Geffen, “and it almost seemed as if they wanted to make sure of their purchases before the overseas buyers came flocking back for the summer ‘season’.

“Property prices along the Atlantic Seaboard have come down over the past few years and at current levels there is great demand for homes in what is still SA’s most desirable luxury real estate belt. And since many transactions here are cash purchases, this has little to do with the recent interest rate cut. Instead, I get the impression that many South Africans who have aspired to own a home here for a long time now believe this is their best opportunity to buy one, before prices start to rise again.

“Indeed, we are seeing a similar pattern of purchasing by perceptive investors in other high-end locations around the country, and this reinforces my view that we have passed the bottom of the property market cycle and will see a steady recovery over the next 12 to 18 months.”

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