RE/MAX Suburb Trend Report – Knysna

Area history

Knysna, situated on the Garden Route, is one of the Southern Cape coast's best known holiday destinations. It was in 1804 that Knysna's history began, when George Rex, who is alleged to be the illegitimate son of King George lll arrived in the area and purchased the estate known as Melkhoutkraal on the shores of the lagoon. He moved his entire family and considerable entourage down to Knysna to settle

One of the town’s historical attractions is the Millwood Gold Mines, where it is said that alluvial gold was found here in 1885 at Jubilee Creek, which resulted in a rush to the area.

Flanking a deep channel through which the sea flows into the lagoon at the mouth of the Knysna River are the Knysna Heads, two great sandstone cliffs at the mouth of the lagoon which connects the estuary with the sea. The Knysna Heads are renowned as one of the most striking physical features along the southern African coastline.

Knysna is also well known for its oysters, which are rated as some of the most appetizing in the world. The lagoon here is one of a small number of places along the coast and in the world that supports an oyster hatchery.

The Knysna Forest, which is the largest indigenous forest in South Africa, is filled with a wide selection of established trees including yellowwood, stinkwood, white alders, blackwood, ironwood and Cape chestnut along with numerous ferns, creepers and wild flowers. While this forest was once home to herds of Knysna Elephants and it is believed that only one cow remains today, there is large variety of bird life to be found in the forest, including the Knysna Loerie.

Area property information

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa says that the property portfolio in Knysna consists of a mix of residential estates, sectional title apartments and freehold homes. Sectional title units make up the majority of property here, accounting for close on 43% of all Knysna property, while freehold homes account for just over 35% and estates equate to approximately 22%.

He notes that the buyers mix in Knysna is mostly made up of mature, up-country buyers looking for holiday homes. This is evident from the Lightstone data which shows that 45% of existing owners are aged between 50 and 64 years old, while around 43% of recent buyers were in the same age category. The data also indicates that 42% of recent sellers were aged between 36 and 49 years of age.

Goslett says that an entry-level home in Knysna would cost approximately R1,2m, which would buy a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home with open plan living areas, situated in a sought-after area, close to the beach. Entry-level apartments in the Knysna CBD however, would be priced at around R500 000.

Lightstone shows that the average price of a sectional title property in Knysna to date during 2012 is R720 000 while the average value of a freehold home is approximately R1,1million.

Property price trends

Demand for property

Goslett says that there has been quite a bit of movement in the Knysna property market between November 2011 and October 2012, with 63 property transfers having taken place.  Lightstone data supports this, indicating that around 40% of existing owners have been in their properties for less than five years.

The strongest demand seems to be for properties priced between R400 000 and R800 000, which accounted for 26 of the 63 transfers between November 2011 and October 2012. Properties prices between R800 000 and R1,5million also showed strong demand, accounting for 24 of the 63 transfers between November 2011 and October 2012.

He adds that sectional title property in Knysna is the most sought after, with 39 units transferred between November 2011 and October 2012, compared to the 15 freehold homes and 9 homes within estates that were transferred in the same period.

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