Some two years ago Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group, when asked where buyers with average or limited resources should look to find a home, replied, “anywhere south of the Muizenberg mountains and Ou Kaapse Weg is guaranteed to be much in demand in the near future”.
Many buyers, Rawson predicted, would be bucking the traditional trend of moving ‘up’ the suburban line towards the city and would, instead, begin to go ‘down’ it – and the main reason for this, he said, was that prices in areas like Fish Hoek, Glencairn, Simon’s Town, Noordhoek, Imhoff’s Gift, Capri, Kommetjie and Scarborough were still eminently ‘affordable’ when compared to those further north in the peninsula.
“By any analysis,” said Rawson, “but especially in comparison with central peninsula home prices, the value-for-money in these southern areas is still exceptionally good.”
That Rawson prediction, said Kim Mann, who the office manager and a rental agent at Rawson Property Group’s Fish Hoek franchise (which operates in the surrounding areas), has been fulfilled.
“Never before,” she said recently, “has the demand for homes in these areas been quite a strong as it is now and never before has there been such battle for estate agents to find sufficient stock.”
Any correctly priced home in the preferred price bands will, said Mann, sell within two to three weeks – and after two or three years of price stagnation, homes in many areas of Fish Hoek, Kommetjie and Glencairn are now seeing annual price escalations of 8 to 10%.
Market conditions of this kind are slanted in favour of the seller, said Mann, the more professional agents are able to benefit by branding and maintaining a high profile (e.g. through charitable work such as manning a station on the Cape Argus Cycle Tour, by increased sponsorships of all kinds in the community, by pamphlet blitzes at traffic lights, by advertising more and by intensifying their campaign to give free valuations).
Bev Wills and Ilke Wolff, who serve Fish Hoek itself, said that demand is especially strong in the R1 million to R1,4 million category and homes here are often selling within the very short time periods mentioned above.
“Fish Hoek does, of course, have homes priced at R4,5 million to R6 million – these are mostly on the mountainside overlooking the sea and are often now bed and breakfasts – but they seldom come on the market and when they do tend to sell very slowly,” said Wills.
Fish Hoek, added Wolff, is especially popular right now because its homes are on average 25% less expensive than those of two of the other highly desirable South Peninsula suburbs, i.e. Simon’s Town and Glencairn.
Barry Fourie, this Rawson Property Group’s franchise agent for the Bluewater Estate, Imhoff’s Gift, Kommetjie, Misty Cliffs and Scarborough, said that since the last quarter of last year he has seen a sales boom in many of these areas and, he added, he has a strong perception that they are now very much ‘in’.
The fast sales and much of the demand,” said Fourie, “have been in the R1,8 million to R3 million bracket, both at Bluewater and at Imhoff’s Gift. Kommetjie, too, is now more popular than ever before and here sales are focused above R2 million – there is practically nothing available below that price and we do have homes valued at R10 million and even at R20 million, which still sell very slowly indeed.
“What has to be appreciated,” added Fourie, “is that throughout this territory the value gains in the last decade have been significant – and this is especially true of Kommetjie, Misty Cliffs and Scarborough. A beach bungalow bought here in 2000 for R1 million was resold recently for R6 million and at Scarborough a mountainside home built for a package price (including the plot) of R1,6 million has now been given a valuation of R6,5 million.”
The beach and mountain orientated, quiet lifestyle of these areas, said Fourie, are so popular with some people that they are prepared to commute the 40 km to the city and back daily – often leaving very early in the morning to enable them to avoid all traffic congestion.
Lizelle Kaufmann, who represents the Rawson Property Group in Noordhoek and Sunnydale, said that Noordhoek is now decidedly upmarket but sales are taking place here steadily in the R2,8 million to R3,7 million bracket – and, she added, these prices have been much the same for the last year or more. At the gated water-orientated Lake Michelle estate, building activity is also on-going, resulting in houses with resale values of R3,5 million to R5 million being erected.
Sunnydale, by contrast, remains the most affordable suburb south of the Muizenberg/St James precinct and here homes can still be had for as little as R800,000 and seldom cost more than R1,5 million, although some are priced as high as R1,8 million. The Noordsig section of this area is particularly affordable, with houses as low as R640,000 – ‘incredible value’ for any Cape Peninsula home.
Noordhoek, Kaufmann reminded us, is still one of the few developed areas where vacant plots, on average 1,146 m2 in size, can still be bought for as little R2 million.
In Simon’s Town, which this Fish Hoek franchise shares with another Rawson Property Group franchisee, the agent responsible for the area, Bev Wills, said that house prices can vary from R1,2 million to R5 million or more. Here again, there is a strong perception that Simon’s Town is becoming increasingly popular.
As always in high demand areas, the shortage of stock has pushed rentals up exceptionally fast and also increased the demand for renting, especially in Fish Hoek. Apartments here, said Mann, are now renting at R6,000 to R8,000 per month and homes at an average of R14,000, with some able to get R20,000 or more per month.
“As Bill Rawson predicted,” said Mann, “we are seeing an upsurge in popularity in all the areas we serve and this will be good for property prices as well as for new developments, which I foresee will now increase in those areas where it is still possible.”