The coastal holiday towns in the Garden Route stretching from Wilderness through Sedgefield, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay to Natures Valley, have been particularly hard-hit by the downturn in the economy.
So says Graham Anley, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Coastal, which services these areas. He explains that this is because the areas his offices serve are mainly holiday resort towns where the market predominantly consists of luxury holiday homes. “Sales volumes are down dramatically and prices achieved are generally down to levels experienced in 2006,” he says. But, having said that, Anley notes that it is certainly a strong buyers market and there are great investment opportunities for the shrewd property buyer.
Anley explains that in the midst of the boom, before the implementation of the National Credit Act, many buyers purchased two or three investment properties with 100% bonds with the intention of holding onto them for a short period of time with the aim of taking quick profits.  “A number of these investors are now struggling to meet their bond commitments,” says Anley, “and they are now being forced to sell these properties at prices which, in some instances, are substantially less than what they paid for them.  This is providing fantastic buying opportunities for investors seeking to acquire a holiday property in prime areas.”
Anley says that pricing for an entry-level home starts at around R1,2m, which would buy a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home with open plan living areas, situated in a sought-after area, close to the beach. “In Knysna entry-level apartments in the CBD come in at around R449 000 including VAT for brand new development consisting of 20 apartments with one or two bedroom options available.”
 In the middle price range, Anley’s offices have a number of options available, one of which is a uniquely designed home priced at R2,85m. They also have a selection of luxury homes in the secure Brackenridge Eco Estate ranging in price from R3,2m to R15m.  These homes range from modern family homes with lovely views of the private nature reserve to luxury upmarket executive homes perched high on the Brackenridge hill with stunning views of the ocean, mountains and golf course. Anley believes that this estate offers the best value for money in the Garden Route area, especially considering there are 1500m2 vacant stands here that are priced from R320 000, which he says is ‘a never to be repeated price’.
Talking about the buyer’s mix in these areas, Anley says that as the towns in which they market properties are predominantly coastal holiday towns, 90% of their business is conducted with up-country or Cape Town buyers looking for holiday homes.  “Buyers are looking for and are finding bargain properties being marketed by distressed sellers, or are working through our agency to negotiate great deals from banks portfolios of repossessed properties.”
For example, in Knysna RE/MAX Coastal has a selection of luxury homes situated in the sought after areas of Simola Country Club, the renowned Pezula golf course and lagoon frontage canal homes of Knysna’s Thesen Island.
But it’s this home situated on Plettenberg Bay’s popular Robberg Beach that is the cream of the RE/MAX Coastal crop. Initially priced at R22m, this home is now on the market at a reduced price of R16,75m. It features ocean views and five en-suite bedrooms, a luxury apartment, large entertainment areas, two fitted pubs, an elevator, wine cellar with racking and air conditioning, and a range of luxury finishes including a solar heated pool with glazed windbreak, gas fireplaces, gas spit braai, fully landscaped and irrigated garden as well as security systems including cameras and electric fencing. 
“The Garden Route is arguably the most beautiful part of the country,” says Anley, “and is the third most popular place to visit for all foreign tourists. The property market in South Africa has already shown a marked increase in property transactions and in sale prices over the past six months. “
Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa notes that there has been a very slight increase in the leisure section of the property market and that majority of buyers in this category are cash buyers. “The market is as low to the bottom as it has been for many years,” he says, “which means that there is value to be found in many properties currently on the market. Interest rates are at an all time low and the economy as well as the property market is on the upturn.”
In the Garden Route areas where RE/MAX Coastal is active, Anley says they have not yet experienced the upward trend as the luxury market generally lags behind in a property recovery. “We therefore foresee our market starting to follow this upward trend in the near future.  This means that there has never been a better time to buy coastal properties than now,” Anley concludes.

Initially priced at R22m, this home is now on the market at a reduced price of R16,75m. It features five en-suite bedrooms, a luxury apartment, large entertainment areas, two fitted pubs, an elevator, and a wine cellar with racking and air conditioning along with many other features
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