The slow but steady revival of interest in Cape West Coast property, a trend reported on in many of the South African property media, is nowhere more evident today than in Langebaan, says Emil Weiss, the Rawson Property Group’s franchisee for this area.
“There is a definite hum in town these days,” he says. “We are now seeing a steady influx of contracting staff coming to work in the Saldanha Bay area and surroundings requiring accommodation. This has been especially good for the rental market because the companies that employ these people have pre-agreed rental budgets which can be quite generous.”
A typical three bedroom home valued at R2 million in a good location, says Weiss, will now rent out at R13,000 to R15,000 per month. One in a less attractive area would probably bring in R7,000 to R10,000 per month and a two bedroom flat would now cost R5,000 per month. These rentals, he points out, now compare favourably with those obtainable in many of Cape Town’s middle bracket areas.
What is more, Weiss adds, the Rawson Property Group and other estate agencies with large rental portfolios are now having to canvass day and night for new stock because demand is beginning to exceed supply. This situation, he comments, should be attracting buy-to-let investors – and indeed some of his clients are in this category – because over the next few years such people will definitely be “in the pound seats”.
A significant revival has also been noticeable, says Weiss, on the sales side where two years ago there was a plethora of repossessed homes on the market going at almost ridiculously low prices. Today these are almost non-existent and accurately priced houses are usually selling within eight to 12 weeks.
The majority of buyers, he says, are looking for a home priced from R900,000 to R1,5 million, but his team has recently also had sales above R2 million.
The few affluent buyers who are now once again coming back to the area, says Weiss, can often pay cash and are often looking for homes on the beachfront – which are invariably hard to find and by Langebaan standards very high priced. The Rawson Property Group has just listed one for sale, a four bedroom Tuscan home at Calypso Beach with a price tag of R4, 895 million. This, says Weiss, would be a very good buy because as the economy of the area starts to move upwards, this type of home will be increasingly in demand and the house could add 50% to its value in the next five to six years. The house has indoor and outdoor braai facilities and three garages and would, says Weiss, offer its occupants a near-perfect lifestyle.
This lifestyle factor, again and again stressed by Langebaan estate agents, says Weiss, should never be underestimated – the town has huge appeal for almost everybody who comes to stay there.
Langebaan’s year-round good weather, low crime rate, excellent sailing and fishing and the laidback friendly nature of its inhabitants are absorbed by and influence all those who come to the area, even those hard-driving contractors who work long hours and are there for a relatively short space of time – but then find that they have enjoyed the area so much they do not want to leave.
His franchise, says Weiss, is selling three homes per month on average as well as running a flourishing rental agency and he expects to see the sales figures rise by 50% in the year ahead.
“Recently,” he says, “we have seen small but significant price rises. I predict that these are the first in an upward movement that will be far more significant in 2014. Right now Langebaan property is by historic standards still relatively inexpensive and this makes it possible to buy in the knowledge that further price rises are almost certain. As the Saldanha Bay Industrial Zone gets into its full stride, those who buy now will, I believe, be very grateful they did so.”