With its magnificent location between the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland mountains and the False Bay coastline, Somerset West has long been one of the Cape’s best-kept property secrets.  Many may pass it en route to their holiday destinations – yet were they to venture further into town, they would discover a cosmopolitan population, spectacular views, a low crime rate and an enviable lifestyle.  Perhaps the word is starting to get out however, as Pam Golding Properties reports that there has been healthy sales activity in the local property market since the start of 2011.
PGP’s area manager for Somerset West, Linda Killick, says her team of agents in the town sold 35 properties between February and mid-May this year (2011). “The total value of these sales was over R73 million,” she says, “and they were spread across all price brackets, from starter homes priced under R1 million to luxury top-end residences priced up to R6.35 million.  The most activity was seen in the R1 million to R2 million bracket, with 14 sales, and the R2 million to R3 million bracket, where 11 properties changed hands through PGP.”

Killick says most of the buyers were existing Somerset West or Cape Town residents, wishing to scale up as their family and/or budget expanded, or looking to scale down due to empty nests or pending retirement.  “There were some foreign buyers,” she says, “mainly from the UK, Germany and Switzerland.  This is not very surprising, as Somerset West has a close-knit German-speaking community, and is popular with ‘swallows’ who like to spend the European winters here.  We also saw buyers from Gauteng and other parts of the Western Cape, many of them relocating here for professional reasons, to start up new ventures or expand their business presence into the area.  One of the sales was to an expat couple planning to return to South Africa from the Middle East in a few years’ time – they have purchased a home with a separate flatlet, and intend to rent out the main house while using the flatlet as their holiday base until such time as they move back permanently.”

For family buyers in particular, Somerset West is a popular choice, as the town and its surrounding areas are home to a number of leading schools.  PGP’s MD for the Boland and Overberg regions, Annien Borg, says there is a wide selection of highly-rated schools in the area, allowing parents to choose between co-ed and single sex options, Afrikaans, English or dual-medium education, and private or government institutions.  “There is a very proud sporting and academic tradition in the Helderberg area,” she says, “and many of these schools regularly achieve top matric results, as well as seeing a number of pupils going on to play provincial or national-level sport.”

The town’s central location is another appealing factor – Somerset West lies just 20 minutes from Cape Town International Airport and thirty minutes from the city centre, while Stellenbosch and its famous Winelands lie just 10 minutes away, providing a wealth of recreational opportunities as well as further sporting, work and schooling opportunities.  “It’s also just an hour’s drive to Hermanus for weekend getaways,” says Borg, “and even less to other lovely Overberg towns like Rooi Els, Betty’s Bay and Pringle Bay.  One can escape into the countryside so easily – and yet the town has big city amenities such as fine restaurants, excellent hospitals, secure lifestyle estates and a superb shopping mall.  It really offers a blend of rural and urban living at their very best.”

Among the properties currently for sale exclusively through PGP in Somerset West is a newly-renovated home in the exclusive suburb of Spanish Farm, located on the slopes of the Helderberg mountain.  “This is one of the most sought-after addresses in Somerset West,” says Killick, “as the elevated position offers spectacular views over False Bay, the mountains and vineyards.  And the suburb lies adjacent to the Helderberg Nature Reserve with its beautiful scenery and hiking trails.”  The property occupies a prime level erf of close to 3000sqm, while the home itself offers over 1000sqm of living space, including four double en-suite bedrooms plus extensive reception areas and covered patios.  Unique features include an indoor solar-heated swimming pool, a music room, bar/wine room, and a separate guest cottage with two bedrooms – ideal for use as guest accommodation or as a granny flat, teen pad, gymnasium or work-from-home office.  The property has excellent security and high levels of privacy, and is on the market at R14.5 million.

For those in a more modest price bracket, PGP is marketing an ideal lock-up-and-go home in Schapenberg Estate, a popular lifestyle estate offering 24-hour manned security and panoramic sea and mountain views.  The home has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and large open-plan reception rooms.  There is also a separate entertainment terrace with a thatched lapa, overlooking a solar-heated pool and private landscaped garden.  The 1300sqm property is on the market at R2.75 million. 

Released on behalf of Pam Golding Properties by Philippa Hudson
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