Despite prevailing economic conditions applying pressure on the market for second homes, there is still demand for holiday homes in prime coastal areas.
For example, Pam Golding Properties reports that its office in Betty’s Bay on the Cape Overberg coast has experienced steady demand over the past year, with particularly brisk sales activity seen over the December 2011/January 2012 holiday period. The town is an ideal coastal getaway for Capetonians in particular, as it lies just an hour and a quarter’s drive from the city centre, and only 45 minutes from Somerset West.
PGP’s area manager Mike Bisset says the majority of sales over the holiday period were cash sales to buyers seeking homes for holiday use or weekend cottages. “For example,” he says, “a Cape Town family purchased a plot near Silversands Beach for R625 000, on which they intend to build a weekend getaway pad. Another Cape Town family purchased a plot with outstanding sea views for R490 000, in order to build a holiday home which they will later use for retirement purposes. Johannesburg clients who visit the area annually bought a neat and well-maintained home for R1.025 million, for both holiday and investment purposes.”
Another noticeable trend which continued through the recent holiday period was the sale of vacant erven to the owners of neighbouring properties. “We saw several properties sold in this fashion during 2011,” says Bisset. “The buyers either wanted to make provision for future expansion of their homes, or in many cases, were looking to secure their sea views. In one such sale in December 2011, two neighbours jointly bought the vacant plot lying between their two homes for R350 000, so as to prevent any future building which might adversely impact on their privacy and views. Another sale in May 2011 saw a European family who spend summers in the Cape purchasing a holiday home on Silversands Beach for R3.4 million, and then paying R1.5 million for the plot next door, for investment purposes and to secure their views. Similarly the existing owner of two adjacent mountainside homes paid R1.5 million in December 2011, for a huge neighbouring plot with magnificent views.”
PGP’s sales in Betty’s Bay during 2011 totalled close to R22.5 million, and included a number of houses priced between R1.3 million and R3.47 million, most located within walking distance of the beaches. The highest priced home sold by PGP was an historic property dating back to the latter years of World War Two, and occupying a double plot of 3000 square meters.
“Te Moana” (the Maori term for “ocean”) overlooks the rocky seashore of Jock’s Bay, one of the most prestigious sections of the town. The property, which includes both a substantial main house and a separate guest cottage, was sold in February 2011 for R7 million, to a Cape Town buyer who will use it as a weekend getaway.
PGP’s MD for the Boland and Overberg regions, Annien Borg, says the success of the PGP agents in Betty’s Bay can be attributed in part to their well-honed valuation skills and price counselling to clients. “There is a great deal of stock on offer in the current market,” she says, “leaving buyers to pick and choose from a wide variety of homes. The properties which are moving speedily are those which are accurately priced for current market conditions – buyers are really doing their homework, and there just isn’t an appetite for over-priced homes, no matter how beautiful their design or location.”