The small south Cape coast town of Stilbaai, which has 4,180 homes altogether and which is attractively split into two sections, Stilbaai East and Stilbaai West, via the Goukou River, is now experiencing a total revival in interest from buyers.
Local Rawson Property Group agents, Johan Cronje and Harry and Helene de Villiers, report that in July they sold six homes.
“This,” said Harry de Villiers recently, “is an incredible turnaround, bearing in mind that we previously sold far fewer homes in winter and during the recession years, when we operated independently as Strandloper Eiendomme. There were, in fact, years when it was almost impossible to sell more than two or three houses per annum but now it looks very much as if the recovery has started with a bang and all the signs show that we will continue to see good sales from now on and well into 2014.”
As 20% of Stilbaai’s homes are second homes, the recession resulted in a very large number of these coming onto the market, so much so that the Rawson Property Group stock list now has almost 500 homes to sell as well as some 1,000 erven listed. Not surprisingly this huge increase in supply has brought prices down drastically, said de Villiers.
“All the homes available at prices below R1 million,” he said, “have been sold and those wanting to buy here now have to be prepared to pay at least R1 million to R1,3 million. However, we do have luxury homes priced up to R12 million available for those looking for more affluent properties.”
Almost all of the homes in Stilbaai, he added, are three or four bedroomed and they stand on plots sized from 700 m2 to 1,000 m2.
“We do have a great many homes in the higher brackets, but generally speaking,” said de Villiers, “at no time in Stilbaai’s history have prices been so heavily weighted in the buyer’s favour. On offer here at the moment, for example, is a five bedroom, triple storey home that originally came onto the market at R4,7 million and is now available at R3,2 million. Also available at R4,2 million, is an equally large house right on the main beach which was originally priced at R6,1 million.”
One of the reasons, Johan Cronje believes, for the sudden increase in interest in Stilbaai is that holiday habits have changed quite markedly. In previous years, holidaymakers would come down for a two or three week stay, perhaps once a year. Nowadays they make more frequent short term visits, generally over long weekends.
Another reason for the increase in Stilbaai’s popularity, said Cronje, is that people are increasingly crime conscious today and are keen to get away from areas where crime is a serious problem – and possibly no Cape coastal village has less crime than Stilbaai.
“This,” said Cronje, “is the sort of precinct where it is still possible to go to sleep at night leaving your doors unlocked.”
A third reason for the recent rise in popularity, Cronje believes, is the fact that Stilbaai is a short drive away from the big centres. It is only 350 km from Cape Town, 150 km from George and 90 km from Mossel Bay.
During the holiday season, said Cronje, it is quite easy to get R1,000 per day for a three bedroom home and R2,500 per day for a bigger home and this agency is currently building up a managed rental portfolio handled by Helene de Villiers.
Now also making the area a great deal more suited to older and retired people is the fact that a new hospital, already half complete, is being built here.
“The basic message which we have to get across,” said Harry de Villiers, “is that Stilbaai has suddenly become the flavour of the month but prices here are still anything from 30 to 50% below what they were in previous good years.”