Buyers queue for homes in the town with two names

Unique in many respects, not least of all because it has two names, the town of Arniston/Waenhuiskrans in the Western Cape has become a most desirable destination by those prepared to fork out up to R6,5 million for a holiday home.

And despite its entry level for a home in the best part of town costing upwards of R1 million, stock levels are at an all-time low, says Lynette Pratt, manager of Realty 1 International Property Group in Bredasdorp. With a portfolio of only five properties currently available on the market, demand is huge, says Pratt, who has recently been awarded a rare sole mandate on a five bedroom house 75 metres from the waves.

Pratt says market activity is being fuelled by growing outside interest rather than movement among Arniston’s 2000-odd residents. “The problem is that people who live or own property here don’t want to sell. In fact, I get regular enquiries from existing home owners wanting to buy more properties rather than sell.”

While the average price of a home in South Africa is now around R760 000 according to Absa, the average Arniston home, at around R2 800 000, is almost four times that amount. But it’s not the bricks and mortar as much as its location that sets a property’s value, says Pratt. Everything hinges on its proximity to the sea and its sea views. “A few years ago, a beach-front house was sold for R6, 5 million without even coming on to the market. So homes in this price range are both very saleable and very much in demand.”

With little scope to develop the area any further owing to a dearth of vacant land, buyers literally have to queue up until a property comes up for sale, Pratt says.

Named after the English ship, the Arniston, which was wrecked there in 1815 and a large local cave once used to house oxen and wagons belonging to the original settlers, Arniston / Waenhuiskrans offers holiday makers and residents something very different from normal life in the city, says Strepies van Wyk, principal of Realty 1 International Property Group Cape Agulhas, which incorporates the Bredasdorp branch.

Traffic congestion, pollution and the frenzied pace of modern living have no place in a town that has become world-renowned for its white beaches, Waenhuiskrans Nature Reserve and authentic, turn-of-the-century fishing village known as Kassiesbaai or the “Bay of the Little Boxes, she says.
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