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Tuesday Dec 07, 2021

'Affordability and lifestyle drives False Bay property market'

False Bay agents are reporting a notable uptick in enquiries since mid-year, especially from young families who are seeking quieter lifestyles near good schools, first-time buyers taking advantage of the low interest rate and empty-nesters or retirees looking to scale down.

The False Bay and Peninsula region in Cape Town is attracting keen interest from both local and upcountry buyers as the scenic coastal strip not only offers the quintessential seaside village lifestyle, it does so at a more accessible price than most comparative areas as well as a broad selection of properties.

According to Jonathan Alexander, Muizenberg and Kalk Bay Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty, the Muizenberg house market has remained consistent, despite the pandemic and economic downturn, with the median house price hovering around the R1.6 million mark since 2019.

"However, the recent spike in demand for accessibly priced freestanding houses in the Muizenberg area is now creating a seller's market in this sector with prices beginning to rise again as a result.

"Sectional title sales have also increased this year and, according to Lightstone data, the median sale price reached an all-time high of R1.15m, a 21% increase from R950 000 in 2020 which can largely be attributed to Muizenberg's popularity with first-time buyers."

He adds that the recent upgrades to the area have considerably improved Muizenberg's infrastructure which now includes an excellent choice of shopping and entertainment facilities and the revitalised iconic beachfront.

In Kalk Bay, upmarket sectional title properties have been gaining in popularity, particularly with empty-nesters and retirees, which Alexander says is clearly evidenced by Lightstone data.

"The majority of recent buyers (54%) are aged between 50 and 64, followed by those aged 65 and older (23%) and most want to trade high-maintenance homes for a more relaxed lifestyle.

"Twenty of the 29 property transfers during the past year ending August 31 were sectional title units and, of those, 12 were sold at an average sale price of R5.7m with the average sectional title sale price being R3.896m."

Beverley Goldhill, Area Specialist for the group in Simonstown and surrounds, notes that this year, buyers have been more intent on making a purchase than merely window shopping.

"Many buyers, especially from Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal, have been focused on purchasing a coastal property to enjoy the benefits it offers in lifestyle.

"There has also been an uptick in the sale of vacant land as well as investment buying as discerning investment in the purchase of well-priced sea-view properties."

"Savvy investors are realising that now is the time to buy for maximum return on investment as the natural limitation of available land along the coastline due to its topography and the burgeoning demand will soon result in a dearth of investment opportunities and sharp increases in price."

She adds that many of the recent sales in the area have been second homes sold for liquidity and down-scaling for retirement.

Although 62% of the property landscape in Simonstown is still freehold, there has also been a notable spike of activity in the sectional title sector in the suburb, with more sales as well as an increase in the median sale price which rose from R1.235m in 2020 to R1.5m this year.

The Fish Hoek market has been exceptionally active during the past 12 months, with a total of 218 transactions, of which 135 were freehold at an average sale price of R2.35m, 68 were sectional title (R1.25m) and six were estate homes (R2.07m).

There has also been an increase in the sale of vacant land, with nine plots sold so far this year at an average selling price of R875 000, although six of those sold at an average of R1.03m.

Connected by a pristine 12km stretch of beach and each with their own distinct characters, Kommetjie and Noordhoek on the Atlantic side of the South Peninsula have become increasingly popular as the growing move towards a more tranquil lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle has gathered momentum.

No longer sleepy villages populated mostly by laid-back creatives and the surfing community, these scenic suburbs are attracting a growing number of affluent professional investors, with the Living Standard Measure (LSM) for both now being 10.

Noordhoek Area Specialist, Linette Kempster, says: "The changing demographic is clearly evidenced by Lightstone data which shows that 71% of existing owners are aged 50 or older, whilst 100% of recent buyers are in the 36 to 49 age group.

"What hasn't changed is the fact that property owners here tend to hang onto their homes for longer than in many other areas, with 49% having owned their properties for eight years or longer."

Undoubtedly one of the most picturesque areas in the Western Cape, Noordhoek has a serene rural atmosphere with leafy lanes as well as spectacular ocean and mountain views from the Western section, and it offers the epitome of the idyllic village lifestyle.

Like Fish Hoek, the Kommetjie market has remained active all year, gathering momentum and resulting in an exceptionally busy third quarter and a significant rise seen in both sales volumes and median prices.

"Last year, there were only 41 registrations in total, and by the end of August this year, there had already been 72 registrations and we're currently inundated with enquiries," says Area Specialist Natalie Cooper.

"Freehold properties priced between R2m and R3m, although increasingly scarce and quickly snapped up, are offering great value for first time buyers and looking to downsize and, with the new Generations School, the area is attracting more young families.

"The middle market in the R4.5m to R6.5m price band is currently the most active and we are seeing movement again at the top end of the market, which is encouraging.

This is corroborated by Lightstone data which shows that of the of the 23 houses sold from June to August, 17 were at an average sale price of R6.17m and six were sold at an average sale price of R2.5m.

"We are also seeing ongoing development in Kommetjie and surrounds such as Village Lane with several others in the pipeline, including the new shopping centre Spar development." 

Over and above the value and solid returns to be found the region, it offers an excellent quality of life in characterful, often historic villages and suburbs, most of which have strong sense of community.

The area is now well-supplied with amenities like malls and medical services as well as key services including a driving test station and municipal offices in Fish Hoek, so with the addition of a school and the vastly improved infrastructure, I expect the False Bay market to continue to hold its own."


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