Trophy home sales surge as super-luxury market catches fire

South African trophy properties worth R20m or R30m or more are selling like hotcakes at the moment, with the renewed enthusiasm for luxury property that has been evident since late last year having spread now to the super-luxury sector.
That’s the word from Lew Geffen, chairman of Sotheby’s International realty in SA, who says the group’s Atlantic Seaboard and Johannesburg operations, for example, have sold more than R250m worth of ultra-high end homes in the past three months – some of them in areas where such sales had not been evident for years.

4 Bedroom House for sale in Morningside, Sandton
The homes sold include several super-luxury apartments in Bantry Bay, ranging in price from R23m to R35m, he says, as well as a R27m property on the V&A Waterfront, a R30m mansion in Sandton’s Morningside Manor and a string of executive homes in Houghton, Illovo, Sandhurst and Westcliff.
Other real estate groups involved in this market have reported a similar trend recently and, he says, such purchases are extremely important in the wider sense because the rest of the property market often takes its cue – and its confidence – from high net worth individuals (HNWIs) who are perceived to be “in the know” about property trends.
One factor behind the recent surge in sales at the very top end of the market, Geffen says, is the large number of luxury house sales that have been finalised in recent months, “which has freed the sellers of these properties to upgrade further as they act on their belief that the market has passed the bottom and now has nowhere to go but up.

4 Bedroom House for sale in Bantry Bay, Cape Town
“In other words, there are more potential buyers in the market for super-luxury properties, and they have ‘cash in hand’. At the same time, we have seen a new pricing realism among serious sellers that has encouraged those buyers to make offers and finalise transactions.”
In doing so, Geffen says, the buyers of ultra-high end properties in SA are also following a global trend. “Sotheby’s International Realty offices worldwide have seen HNWIs favour increased investment in property for the past two years. “At the start of this period, most of these investors were really just looking for a ‘safe haven’ for their assets while they waited for the world economy to improve. But now they are hurriedly buying even more bricks and mortar in order not to miss out on the gains they foresee as real estate markets all over the world start to trend upwards again.”
And in this regard, he notes, SA has been helped lately by the relative weakness of the rand, which makes local property relatively inexpensive for those buying in dollars, pounds or euros. “However, it must be said that the huge majority of recent buyers in the local super-luxury sector have actually been South African HNWIs who are confident about their future here, as well as investors from other African countries who see the country growing in stature and prosperity as it fulfils its role as a gateway to Africa.”

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