Durbanville in the Western Cape is seeing an increase in property purchases.
On the few occasions in the two and a half years since he re-established the Rawson Property Group’s Durbanville franchise, Louis Schoeman, the group’s franchisee for this area has repeatedly said that, in his view, no other area in greater Cape Town offers the middle class buyer such good value.
The type of home which at Durbanville sells for around R2 million would, says Schoeman, cost at least double that if it was in Rondebosch, Upper Claremont, Kenilworth, or Constantia. What is more this applies in virtually every price category, despite the obvious “extra bonus points” conferred by the fact that 80% of Durbanville’s houses are larger and on larger plots than those of the Southern Suburbs and are generally newer, better fitted out and almost always excellently maintained.
With some 21 satellite suburbs all corralled into the Durbanville district, the prices of freestanding homes here, says Schoeman, can vary from R1,8 million to R20 million or more (one was sold recently at Eversdal for a price above R34 million). However, the demand for freestanding homes, says Schoeman, is currently focused on homes priced below R3,5 million.
The area can also offer a few apartments in the R650,000 to R1,2 million bracket and a fair number of town houses in the R1,2 million to R3 million bracket.
Schoeman says that although, to an extent, Durbanville continues to be a terra incognita or an undiscovered gem to the vast majority of Capetonians, the good news about the lifestyle that it makes possible and the real value its homes represent has percolated through to an increasing number of buyers with Rawson Durbanville seeing a steady influx from all Cape areas and from upcountry last year. This is gaining momentum, says Schoeman.
“Most new buyers come here because the town has a village atmosphere and is in many ways a small, independent, completely self-sufficient “republic”,” says Schoeman.
Among the more sophisticated amenities which the area can offer are: state of the art retail centres, up-to-date medical facilities, nationally graded restaurants and some really excellent schools. There are also a great many churches throughout the satellite areas of Durbanville.
With demand growing month-by-month (as is evident at this franchise’s show houses which now attract over 20 potential buyers every time), many estate agents, says Schoeman, have run short of stock — but his team is still doing well in this respect.
“We have had an on-going campaign to give valuations as regularly as possible with the result that some of our top agents have done 10 or 12 evaluations in one week. This campaign is definitely paying off in the number of homes brought to us for sale. If a home is brought to the market at a realistic price it will usually sell within two weeks and our records show that this year the average time taken to sell a home has been 28 days. In addition, most of these homes are selling at 95% of the asking price.”
As yet, says Schoeman, houses in the R5 million plus bracket (and there are a great many such homes in Durbanville) are not attracting a great deal of buyer interest, but homes in the R3 million to R5 million bracket are now beginning to be evaluated and visited by potential buyers. There is a good possibility, he says, that an uptick in sales in this bracket will take place in the coming year.
Summing up his remarks, Schoeman said that Durbanville will continue to grow in popularity but with the South African economy currently struggling to achieve a satisfactory growth rate, he does not foresee middle class house prices in his areas rising faster than they have done so far: buyers can therefore probably expect price increases later this year to be limited to 5 to 8%, the increase last year having been 8 to 10%.
“This,” says Schoeman, “should be good news because it confirms what I have already said about Durbanville offering exceptionally good value for money.”