The international CENTURY 21 property group has opened a Plettenberg Bay office under the banner of CENTURY 21 Pringle Estates.
The timing of the opening is seen as ideal to capitalise on the opportunities that will arise from the inevitable upswing in the property market.
The office is under the management of husband and wife team John and Christy van Coller, both of whom have an extensive track record in the discerning property market of the area.
Pringle Estates was a small family-owned business established in Plettenberg Bay in 1999. "But we wanted the benefits for our clients of joining a global brand with its international and local referral system, comprehensive training, management and other support," says John, who had an engineering career before entering the property market.
Christy has a financial services history that includes stockbroking and investment banking.
Plett, as it is affectionately known, has a special place in the South African property psyche, says John. "Values are still strong and although volumes have slowed there is still definitely business to be done."
Entry level prices for freehold properties in the area are currently around R1,4m for a three bed, two bathroom house and about R670 000 for a two bed, two bath unit approximately 100sqm in extent.
"There has been some softening of prices at the lower end of the market, but that presents opportunities for buyers while the middle segment has held up well. The top end of the market, where beachfront properties start at around R19m and range up to R35m, has been largely unaffected by current conditions, " he says.
Buy-to-let is not a major issue among Plett property owners other than at the lower end of the market. Rather, market drivers include upgrading, downsizing to retire, relocations and "semigration".
Generally, John expects Plett to benefit from 2010 Soccer World Cup spin-offs and from the re-introduction of direct flights to the area. "We are extremely optimistic about our prospects," he says.
ISSUED BY CENTURY 21 SA