A revived interest in Cape holiday homes is now evident

Reports from a wide cross-section of the Rawson Property Group’s Western Cape coastal franchises indicate that the demand for holiday and retirement homes in these areas, which has been almost non-existent for the last three years, is starting to pick up again – and is fuelled in many cases by upcountry buyers.

Mike van Alphen, National Manager of Rawson Finance, the bond origination service provided by the Rawson Property Group, said that bond applications throughout the Western Cape, but most noticeably in the Hermanus/Onrus area, show that people who have held back from secondary properties for some time are now once again ‘coming out of the woodwork’.

Van Alphen also mentioned that another trend has recently been identified by FNB, who say that there is now a strong flow of retirees selling up and relocating to the coast.

Peter Greyling, the Rawson Properties franchisee for the greater Hermanus area, from Vermont to Voelklip, said that the number of enquiries his staff is handling has trebled when compared to last summer. David Evans, co-franchisee with his wife Anne-Marie, for the Rawson Properties Melkbosstrand franchise, said that his sales have seen a noticeable upturn since mid-2012. In one case, he said, two plots bought last year for R3,5 million are being sold for R10 million.

Errol King, Rawson Properties franchisee for Muizenberg, also reports a discernible upswing in enquiries, more than double the number his team was fielding last summer. The big demand, he said, is still for properties priced below R1,5 million, however, he added, Muizenberg is becoming popular with foreign buyers, who were the biggest spenders this festive season - in all price categories. Often, says King, they will say that Muizenberg is one of the very few places where it is possible to buy a house or an apartment only one block from a magnificent beach for under R1,5 million.

Leon Bosman, co-franchisee for Rawson Properties in Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town says that, although many homes are still selling at discount prices, his team has recently seen prices starting to rise. One property bought in 2007 for R4,5 million was recently re-sold at R7,5 million and Bosman believes it is still an excellent buy at this price. Bosman has gone on record saying that Simon’s Town represents one of the best long-term appreciation prospects in South Africa today.

“It has,” Bosman said “everything that appeals to overseas and upcountry buyers – secluded beaches, warm water, golf and sports clubs, a flourishing yacht club, many gourmet restaurants, mountain views and a historic main street with great charm.”

Even in the small, remote Breede River mouth village of Witsand, 320 km east of Cape Town, the Rawson Properties franchisees, Leon and Hanli Pretorius have reported a new interest, especially in the sectional title units of the Breede River Lodge, which are usually sold fully furnished and which can be rented out through a rental pool when the owners are not there.

Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group, said that in the long term Cape coastal properties have always shown a steady appreciation, but, right now, he said, have been discounted by some 15 to 30% below their previous peak prices. This makes the purchase of these properties a logical step this summer – one which should not be delayed too long because prices will inevitably move up in the not too distant future.

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