Low crime rate, clean streets and good schools keep Paarl home prices buoyant

It is always important for an estate agent to understand the motives of people planning to buy homes in his or her area.

A South African property website recently commissioned a 400 person survey on this subject and came up with an interesting conclusion: 21% of buyers saw the level of crime in an area as the most important factor in making their choice, a further 12% regarded a strong security presence in the area as also crucial and only 1% listed close proximity to schools as an important factor. 11% regarded the condition and cleanliness of the precinct, particularly the roads, as very important and a fairly large, yet unspecified percentage, rated access to public transport as a factor they would definitely look at.

“These figures,” said Lizette Joubert, Rawson Properties’ franchisee for Paarl, “throw some light on why Paarl homes continue to be in demand and how they maintain price levels that are well above average, even for such a prosperous area as the Boland.”

“Looking at the cleanliness issue,” said Joubert, “it is widely agreed that Paarl and Stellenbosch are the two best maintained towns in the Western Cape today.”

“In two important respects, however,” added Joubert, “Paarl buyers are very different from those mentioned in the survey: firstly they often place a great deal of importance on Paarl having some of the longest established and best Afrikaans medium schools for both boys and girls in South Africa.”

“Secondly,” said Joubert, "Paarl buyers also tend to rate proximity to sports facilities, especially golf courses as important. Most homes in the town are within 20 to 30 minutes’ driving time of such well-known golf courses as Boschenmeer, Pearl Valley and Val de Vie.”

Some idea of just how strong demand in Paarl is now can be gathered from the fact that Rawson Properties’ sales are up on last year and Joubert's franchise performance in November has put her team in the top five performing Rawson Properties franchises for the whole of the Western Cape.

“The strong demand for homes in Paarl,” said Joubert, “means that, in certain price brackets, any realistically and correctly priced homes will sell within two to four weeks.”

Just how fast houses in Paarl sell was shown recently when a home listed at R895,000 found a buyer within two weeks. Another, at R1,395,000, was sold in six days. In both cases Rawson Properties had a sole mandate and in both cases the achieved price was close to the asking price.

The big demand is now in the R1 million to R1.8 million bracket, Joubert said. This year 63% of Rawson Properties’ buyers have bought in that price category, with a further 20% buying below R1 million.  Only 10% have bought above the R1.8 million mark.

Joubert says that there are still sellers who insist on overpricing and sticking to their prices despite being given up-to-date, accurately calculated market analyses. The dangers of this is shown by the fact that such homes, particularly those in the higher priced brackets, will often sit on the stock list for two years or more and, when they do sell, will go for less than their market value because reputable buyers with resources will have made their offers, had them rejected and then moved on to other buys.

“One such overpriced home listed recently for R2,6 million,” said Joubert, “was eventually sold after two and a half years for R1,995,000, a price that she estimates to be at least R200,000 below its true value.”

“Similarly,” said Joubert, “buyers who wait for ‘more reasonable’ prices are almost certain to be disappointed. Rawson Properties recently sold a home for R 1,395,000 to a buyer who lost out on four homes prior to this because of the fact that he was waiting for prices to decline. When he finally realised that prices were not coming down he was able to buy a house which, although satisfactory, was possibly not as good as the house on which he had underbid."

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