Atlantic Seaboard sales plunge

 Property sales activity along Cape Town’s famed Atlantic Seaboard has slowed dramatically this year after a surge in 2010 – and the sales that are taking place are mostly properties that have been on the market for a long time and are now being sold for much less than their original asking prices.  
 That’s the word from Lew Geffen, chairman of Sotheby’s International Realty in SA, who says: “The only real life in this market at the moment is coming from investors with the means and foresight to buy trophy properties in this world-renowned location at a huge discount.”

 Deeds Office figures show that there was a significant increase in the number of sales in Atlantic Seaboard suburbs last year, with house sales in Fresnaye, for example, up from 31 in 2009 to 63; the number in Greenpoint up from 30 to 75 and the number in Bakoven up from 33 to 45.

 Meanwhile Camps Bay experienced a spectacular increase in the number of sectional title units sold, from 27 in 2009 to 112, and there were also notable increases in the number of apartment sales in Clifton, Greenpoint and Mouille Point, he notes.

 But PropStats, the Western Cape statistical service which tracks sales as they are made, shows a definite sales slump in the first five months of 2011. In Bantry Bay, for example, the total of sales listed was just nine, compared with a total of 63 registered during 2010.
 In Clifton, PropStats records just 12 sales made between January and the end of May, compared with 44 registered in 2010, and the numbers paint a similar picture in Fresnaye, Greenpoint and Mouille Point.

 “However the most dramatic decline has occurred in Seapoint, where only 91 sales were recorded in the first five months of this year, compared with the 767 registered during 2010, when investors were still eagerly snapping up the bargain flats and holiday homes that panicky owners had dumped on the market during the recession.
 “It is clear that once this stock was absorbed, and prices began to rise once more, these buyers lost interest, and that is what has happened on a bigger scale right along the Atlantic Seaboard,” says Geffen.

 “This leaves us with the situation we have now, where wealthy investors are cherry-picking those multimillion rand properties where they can negotiate a substantial price reduction, and largely ignoring the rest.

 “According to PropStats, there were 20 Atlantic Seaboard properties sold for more than R10m in the first five months of this year, and the average price reduction was 16%, although some were discounted by as much as a third. The average length of time they had been on the market was 231 days, but half had been listed for a year or more.
 “The message is thus very clear. If you have an Atlantic Seaboard property that you want or need to sell soon, get professional help from an experienced agent to make sure the price you set is in line with what the savvy investors are currently prepared to pay, otherwise you could be in for a very long wait.”
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