Current market in the Constantia Valley a clear sign of the times

Over the past decade, a progressive move towards more compact, low-maintenance homes with small - or no – gardens along with consistent double-digit growth and high-interest rates fuelled the burgeoning sectional title market and rampant development of cluster complexes.

But in the wake of lockdown, a renewed appreciation for substantial and versatile living spaces has usurped the desire for convenience for many and agents are now reporting a resurgence in the demand for more traditional houses with sizeable gardens.

This is according to Claude McKirby, Co-Principal for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the Southern Suburbs, who adds that this shift in buying trends is clearly reflected in the latest Lightstone Residential Property Indices.

“After a sharp dip late last year to below the national average, freehold price inflation has remained consistent this year, even nudging up a fraction, whilst sectional title and national average price inflation figures have steadily declined.

“And, interestingly, although the mid-value bands have been the most consistent this year, holding steady since March, there has been a spike in the monthly inflation of the luxury sector since June which has, for the first time since early 2018, risen above the annual inflation in that sector.”

Although the pandemic has been a strong driving factor in current buying trends and market activity, Constantia Area Specialist for the group, Jo Thomas, believes that there are a few other key factors driving the surge market activity in the region.

“The recent spate of emigration which contributed to the flood of properties entering the market seems to have abated and those who have decided to stay or cannot leave are getting on with it as we all begin to adjust to a new post-pandemic world.

“And, as people get on with the business of life, including retiring and upscaling and downsizing as needs change, we are seeing the market respond and begin to normalise again.

“Our Constantia team has concluded seven plus sales in the past 3 months and we are also receiving an encouraging number of enquiries for foreign buyers, with one of our most recent sales being a very expensive premier property with outstanding views to a discerning international investor.”

Thomas adds that the scenic area is attracting a very diverse range of buyers, most of whom are looking for an upmarket country lifestyle but with all the convenience of nearby amenities.

‘We are seeing a lot of mature buyers wanting single storey security, families looking for traditional homes in which to raise their children as well as professionals who appreciate the modern, sleek lines and north-facing aspect of the newer homes in the area.

“Most of our sellers are still retirees and empty-nesters downsizing or people wanting to free up some capital, but since Covid, we have had a number of sellers moving to the country or along the Garden Route for a quieter lifestyle where they can buy similar properties for lower prices and lower running costs.”

Neighbouring Zwaanswyk is the epitome of semi-rural idyll and the small enclave is a haven for equestrian enthusiasts and lovers of the great outdoors.

Better known for understated exclusivity rather than record-breaking, the scenic suburb has just taken a step towards the limelight with the listing of a property at the highest ever sale price in Zwaanswyk by the group’s area specialist, Dawn Bloch.

“Zwaanswyk is one of the few remaining areas in close proximity to the city which still offers equestrian estate-sized erven on which residents can stable their horses, ride safely in the area and enjoy a true country lifestyle.

“It is also regarded as one of the safest areas in the Cape Peninsula Precinct as it has only one entrance and exit point which is guarded and monitored round-the-clock and also fully surrounded by an electric fence.

“However, there is usually very little available stock to meet the demand as the suburb consists of only 124 properties.”

Priced at R60 million, this stunning designer house with voluminous double volume living spaces enjoys an elevated prime position with panoramic views as far as the eye can see.

An ideal family enclave and entertainer’s dream, it’s set in expansive landscaped grounds that include include fragrant orange, lemon, and olive groves, a prolific organic vegetable and herb garden, a magical children's playground, bubbling water-features, topiarised shrubs, an Australian tree-fern forest.

McKirby concludes: “Although it’s too early to make confident forecasts for next year, we are certainly cautiously optimistic as the market seems to be stabilising well.

“However, what is apparent is that after months of confinement, many people are now beginning to appreciate the importance of a substantial living space, including dedicated home offices, ample outdoor living and entertainment areas and in-house amenities.

“And we are already seeing outdoor living spaces and decent sized gardens moving up the wish lists again and I think we will also see more and more buyers looking to move away from congested urban areas to suburban or even semi-rural parts.”

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