A sunset scene at Betty’s Bay.
Just a short drive from Cape Town lies one of the Western Cape’s previously best kept property secrets: a stretch of land bounded by mountains and oceans, with beaches, lakes, fynbos and spectacular wildlife, where you can still find houses for under a million rand and premium sea-view properties command less than eight figures – for now. It’s known as the Overberg coast, and it’s attracting more and more attention from across the country as its unique offering sets it apart from its competition.
“The Overberg coast is a really special region,” says Jenny Crisp, who, alongside her husband Derek, runs the Rawson Property Group franchise for the area. “We cover three little seaside villages here – Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay, and Kleinmond, all of which offer great value for money.”
“What really sets us apart, though,” she continues, “is the fact that, unlike many other coastal towns, we’re unlikely to grow out of our village atmosphere any time soon. All three seaside towns under our banner fall inside the Kogelberg Biosphere Nature Reserve, whose UNESCO World Heritage status protects the whole region from over-development and densification.”
While in the past, it was mostly locals snapping up the holiday homes and idyllic retirement cottages in the area, Crisp has noticed an increasing variety of buyers showing interest of late. “We’re seeing a lot more young entrepreneurs with families moving into the area,” she says. “They typically work from home and commute into the city for meetings, or head to the airport if they have business further afield. There are also more buyers from other provinces who are looking for a lifestyle change, or a future retirement nest.”
When it comes to choosing between the towns, Crisp describes each as having its own special character and attractions, appealing to a cross-section of income levels and cultures.
Pringle Bay is closest to Cape Town – about an hour and twenty minutes’ drive away – and is home to a thriving art community, as well as a growing group of professionals who commute to the city. “The beach in Pringle Bay is never crowded and there’s virtually zero crime,” says Crisp. “There is also a variety of lovely restaurants, plenty of weekend entertainment, and a great mix of residents. It has a kind of ‘boutique lifestyle’ that attracts all types and age groups.”
Houses in Pringle Bay start at R700 000 and go up to R8 million for premium properties, with stand sizes varying from 600m2 to 3000m2. “There is also a selection of well-priced vacant plots, so building from scratch is definitely an option,” Crisp adds.
A few kilometres further down the coast is Betty’s Bay, an outdoor paradise that attracts adventure-seeking holiday-makers and peace-loving retirees alike. “Betty’s Bay has sandboarding, surfing, swimming, hiking, white-water rafting, mountain-biking – you name it, you can do it,” says Crisp. “It’s very popular as a holiday spot for both locals and tourists, but is also becoming increasingly popular as a place to retire. It’s still a little rustic, with lots of open land, no street lights, and mostly gravel roads, but that adds to its charm – especially for weekend and holiday visits.”
Betty’s Bay properties are very similar to Pringle Bay, ranging from R700 000 to R8 million with styles varying from simple cottages to modern luxury homes.
Third in the coastal line-up is Kleinmond – the largest of the three. “It’s more like a small town than a village, really,” describes Crisp. “It has more formal infrastructure, with fully-tarred roads, street-lights, and all the relevant shops and amenities. It’s also almost fully-developed, so there are far fewer vacant plots available.” In spite of this, Kleinmond still boasts the same laid-back atmosphere as its neighbouring towns. “It’s popular with retired folk,” says Crisp, “because it has all the niceties without the anonymity and crime of a major town or city. It also has apartments, townhouses and secure complexes on offer, unlike Pringle Bay and Betty’s Bay.”
Also starting out at R700 000, Kleinmond’s property prices top out at R5 million, but the plots are generally smaller than its more rustic neighbours – around 600m2.
Despite increasing demand, there is currently plenty of stock available, although Crisp predicts some serious price increases in the area in the next few years. “Buyers should definitely try to move as quickly as possible to take advantage of the current prices. We’ve already had a plot on Pringle Bay Mountain sell for nearly twice what a house on the same road sold for four years ago.”