After an exceptionally active trading period in December 2017, the New Year ushered in a busy start to 2018 for the residential property market in Clarens – a trend which has continued unabated, with high interest in homes to buy, and a new residential development just launched, says Odette Parris, Pam Golding Properties agent in the area.
Situated in the foothills of the majestic Maluti Mountains and surrounded by the distinctive Rooiberge in the scenic Highlands of the Eastern Free State, Clarens is known for its iconic sandstone mountains and cliffs. The sandstone is also a popular building material used in homes and buildings in the town.
Homeowners here to stay
Indicative of the appeal of this country town is that nearly two-thirds (63%) of current homeowners have owned their properties for 11 or more years – showing an unusually stable housing market (Statistics provided by Lightstone). Over the past 12 months, a small percentage of young adults or first-time buyers is also staking its claim in Clarens.
The majority of Clarens’ housing stock comprises freehold homes (94.96%), with just 22.45% of the stock (both freehold and sectional title), located within estates, says Sandra Gordon, Pam Golding Properties senior research analyst.
Over the past 12 months (August 2017 to July 2018) a total of nine homes located in estates were sold in Clarens at an average price of R1.42 million. A total of 32 freehold homes were sold at an average price of R1.44 million while 16 sectional title homes fetched an average price of R1.13 million. During this period a total of 34 vacant plots were sold – 16 in estates at an average price of R337 000 and 18 plots outside estates averaging at R371 000.
New sectional title development
Such is the demand for homes in Clarens that a local developer has launched a brand new, sectional title residential development called Quillets – which means a strip of land, set on close to two hectares in a tranquil location on the outskirts of the town, only about 1.5km from the village centre and most of its amenities. With a show house nearing completion, the units were designed by a local architect who has lived in Clarens his entire life.
Says Parris: “Enquiries for homes in Quillets are ongoing as there is a shortage of smaller, more compact homes, especially with the convenience and benefits afforded within a sectional title development. The previous most recent development, Paddocks, sold out off-plan in eight months.
“Many of our buyers are from Gauteng, those looking to acquire second and third homes which can be used for weekend getaways or leased out on a self-catering or long-term basis for income generation, as there is a tremendous shortage of accommodation to rent in Clarens.
Sound buy-to-let returns
“Being a tourist town, investors in these properties achieve good returns while enjoying usage of their properties when not rented out to visitors. Units in a development such as Quillets are convenient, lock-up-and-go and hassle-free, so they are always sought after not only by buy-to-let investors from out of town but also locals looking to downsize. We’re also seeing increased interest from KwaZulu-Natal and Bloemfontein.”
Situated alongside the popular Maluti Lodge Hotel and next to the start of the Titanic hiking trail, the new development, which is being marketed by Pam Golding Properties, is in a spectacular location with mountain views all round – from landmark Titanic Rock just north of the town, which strongly resembles the bow of a large ocean-going vessel, to Mount Horeb and the distant Maluti Mountains of Lesotho, including scenic views down the Golden Gate Valley.
As the property is located on a slope, each unit will have scenic, uninterrupted views. Just 100m from Quillets is a day spa and two restaurants. The town is also renowned for its year-round white-water rafting and fishing, while in some years, scenic snow scenes occasionally further enhance the high appeal of Clarens during the winter months from April to November.
Apart from an existing approximately 350sqm manor house, which was built in the 1970s by an engineer from Johannesburg, there are a further 38 units in Quillets. The manor house is available for purchase at R3.8 million and is currently leased out as two separate units – one with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, large kitchen, dining and lounge area with veranda and two garages, and the second unit comprising two bedrooms, one bathroom, open plan living and kitchen area and one garage.
In addition to the manor house, there are four, freestanding, three-storey luxury homes of about 250sqm in size, comprising three bedrooms (three en-suite), kitchen, lounge, veranda and double garage, each selling at R3.5 million.
Seven further freestanding, double-storey homes, each 185sqm in size and including three bedrooms (main en-suite), two bathrooms, open plan kitchen/living area, built-in braai and double garage, are priced at R2.5 million per unit.
A further tranche of 27 approximately 155sqm, double-storey, semi-detached homes with three bedrooms (one en-suite) and two bathrooms plus open plan kitchen/living area, built-in braai and single garage, are selling from R1.79 million. There is also the optional extra of enclosing the verandas and installing a fireplace in the lounge area.
All the above prices include VAT, with no transfer duty applicable.