Aida has made a quick impact on the local property market since opening a dedicated office in the small village of Napier in the Overberg region of the Western Cape.
Owner Comine du Toit, who also runs the successful Aida office in Struisbaai, says the lively market in Napier justified a separate office. "Napier is part of our franchise area and we have been active in the market but decided that the time was ripe to open an independent office that could offer local clients a full and dedicated service.
"And the move has paid off handsomely - we have notched up quick sales since opening in June, and it is all the more remarkable because our local agent, Barbara Rowley, is a rookie agent and faces stiff competition from other large real estate brands in town."
Rowley, an ex-teacher, gained valuable administrative experience in real estate in an Aida office in Cape Town, where she worked for four years before relocating to Napier.
"What started as a part-time job as an agent here quickly escalated into a new career. We have had an incredible run of sales in the past few months and several transactions are currently pending," she says. "Capetonians are strong buyers. They are attracted by the quiet small-town life and are buying homes and cottages as holiday and weekend getaways."
Napier is about two hours from Cape Town and 15 minutes' drive from Bredasdorp. "The village is set against the mountain and is surrounded by fynbos while the yellow canola fields supply a spectacular backdrop during winter," Rowley says.
The new Aida office in Sarel Celliers Street is typical of the charming buildings available in Napier. It is housed in a large old Victorian home with sash windows and oregon floors.
Rowley says demand has seen prices rise. "We have just sold the last 'cheap' three-bedroom cottage for R550 000 and still have a few on our books for around R750 000."
A unique feature of the village is agricultural smallholdings of up to 6000sqm that run from the main road down to the valley. Some are planted to olive groves while some owners keep horses, cows and flocks of sheep. Prices for these vary but Rowley says one of the bargains is a 2600sqm stand with a barn and fantastic views that is on the market for R850 000.