Living up to a 2013 prediction made by the Rawson Property Group’s Chairman, Bill Rawson, that Simon’s Town is an area whose time is about to come, the group’s Simon’s Town franchise, owned and managed by Leon Bosman and Cathy Baker, are now seeing sales at a rate of one to three homes per month.
“It is difficult to explain why this sudden big increase in interest has come about,” says Bosman, “but there can be little doubt that Simon’s Town has suddenly become better known and better appreciated than ever before. Enquiries through our website have been particularly high, at a rate two or three times what we experienced for most of last year.”
To his surprise, says Bosman, the vast majority of buyers are Capetonians but interest has also been shown by Gauteng, British and German buyers.
“Although the dockyard here was for some 150 years a British naval base, it has to be remembered that it was also at one stage regularly used by the German navy. The historic links with both Britain and Germany are, therefore, still very strong today.”
The main street of the town, adds Bosman, is often likened to those of Southampton and Portsmouth and a high proportion of the buildings in this street date back to Victorian and Edwardian times.
“Fortunately for us all,” says Bosman, “an enlightened local council saw to it that these buildings were well preserved and that upgrades and improvements were done in a way that kept the prevailing architectural traditions.”
“Because we are fairly far south in the Cape Peninsula, buyers sometimes come here expecting homes to be both small and inexpensive,” says Bosman. “The truth, however, is that Simon’s Town is an upmarket precinct in which the majority of houses on the market are at prices around or above R2,5 million.”
But, he adds, it also has to be appreciated that, measured by any standards, Simon’s Town’s homes are low priced in relation to what they offer in size, quality, finishes and design excellence.
“The two most favoured areas from a buyer’s point of view are the central town area and the mountainside homes above the dockyard and further north. With the possible exception of Clifton, Bantry Bay and Fresnaye, no other Cape Peninsula suburb has such attractive mountainside sites with such good views – nor does any other Cape Peninsula suburb offer such safe, warm water swimming and snorkeling or have such an active family-orientated yacht club. This is truly a town in which the community spirit is alive and welcoming.”
Bosman adds that of all the mountainside homes, those in Simonskloof are perhaps the most popular because they are completely wind free.
Many of those buying in Simon’s Town, says Bosman, are able to put down large deposits – some as much as 50% – but for those wanting the usual 80% or 90% bonds, the good news, he says, is that by and large the banks now see value in the town and have been far more willing than previously to award bonds to buyers here.
“Perhaps, however, the main reason for Simon’s Town’s growing popularity,” adds Bosman, “is the increased willingness among people to commute by car or by train or conversely to work a few days each week from home. The big influx of new buyers now coming to Simon’s Town are often of this type and it appears that they are already beginning to outnumber those buying for retirement purposes.”
The greatly improved demand for housing in Simon’s Town, says Bosman, could lead to a substantial increase in prices in the second half of this year. Those who do not buy soon, he predicts, may have reason later on to regret their delay.