Intense activity in the lower price brackets keeps the Strand residential market buoyant

The residential home market in Strand, with approximately 10,000 homes in the area altogether, is bigger than most people realize and saw over 330 sales take place in 2012.

Just over 30% of these were handled by Rawson Properties’ Strand franchise, which saw its turnover rise by a startling 50% during 2012. This franchise is now budgeting for a further 25% growth in the year ahead.

Wouter Joubert, co-franchisee of the Rawson Properties’ Strand franchise (with Johann van der Merwe), says that, by his calculations, achieved sales prices rose by 8 to 10% last year. “This fact,” he said, “may be disputed by some, but can be proved from the figures in our books.”

“Many of the upmarket and luxury units,” said Joubert, “are still sticking on the market, but in the R655,000 to R805,000 bracket we have seen a huge demand and ongoing sales.  Right down to the R350,000 level there is, in fact, a steady call from potential home buyers.”

Last year, added Joubert, agents saw the market swing from being very much in the favour of the buyer to being now distinctly angled in favour of the seller.

“Buy-to-let investors,” said Joubert, “are thick on the ground in Strand and Gordons Bay today for the simple reason that rent prices have escalated a great deal faster than home prices.”

"These days," he continued, "many buyers are getting 10% returns on rentals from the outset and my rental portfolio now manages 180 properties. A few of my clients have bought three, four or five units from the franchise for investment purposes.”

The Rawson Properties’ Strand team, said Joubert, benefits from having a database of some 2,000 names that are emailed regularly on all stock information.

“Two categories of housing in the area,” he said, “are still inclined to be slow movers. The first are those properties in the luxury beachfront blocks, many of which are high rise. Although they are now priced at one-third less than they were three or four years ago (the average per m2 price has dropped from R18,000 to R12,000) they are still difficult to shift. However, at today’s values they represent excellent buys, with huge long-term appreciation potential.”

“The other category also lacking urgent buyers,” said Joubert, “are the Gordons Bay mountainside houses, which have such glorious views across False Bay. Although this is an area that has been popular for over 50 or 60 years, it has many superbly designed modern homes and generally speaking the entry level here is never less than R2 million today. The whole precinct is ideal as an excellent long-term proposition.”

His team, like those at Rawson Properties Somerset West, he said, has benefited from Rawson Properties in general, being quick to see the value of IT marketing.

“Even in the lower priced brackets,” he said, “the tendency is for buyers to check websites and other IT information before they actually approach the agent.”

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