A front view of one of Franschhoek’s most iconic buildings – the Franschhoek Colonial Church.
The bullish outlook for Franschhoek property on which he commented roughly a year ago has grown and gained momentum over the last year, says Johan Hugo, the Rawson Property Group’s franchisee for Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.
In 2014, says Hugo, Lightstone figures (taken from the Deeds Office) reveal that the average price of a Franschhoek home sold was R2,5 million, while the average price for sectional title property was R1,660,000.
Today, says Hugo, he and his resident agent Janice Hicks are hard pushed to find homes to sell below R3,5 million and the majority of sales now taking place are priced above R4 million, while plots on average are now selling at around R2,5 million.
For that sort of outlay, says Hugo, the buyer can expect to get a four bedroom home in one of the main gated estates (Domaine, Des Anges, Petite Provence and Fransche Hoek) or a well-maintained, possibly Victorian, six bedroom freehold home within 800 metres of the town centre.
Despite what appears to be almost phenomenal price rises, the number of buyers at Franschhoek is increasing year-on-year, says Hugo.
“Bearing in mind that there are (again quoting Lightstone) only 2,470 registered properties, i.e. excluding farms and small holdings, in Franschhoek, the figures show that from 2010 to 2012 only 3,5% of this total were sold each year. In 2013 the total rise was 4,9% and in 2014 it went as high as 5,8%, i.e. 140 properties were sold. It looks very much as if its upward trend is continuing.”
These encouraging figures, says Hugo, are complemented by two other revealing facts: these are that the average age of recent buyers appears to be coming down and the number of South African buyers is rising.
“At one stage,” says Hugo, “almost one in three buyers here was from overseas. Foreign buyers are still much in evidence, but the big upswing has come from Cape, Gauteng and other upcountry buyers.”
This change in the buyers’ profile, says Hugo, is at least in part due to the ability of so many people today to run businesses from their home, working either part or full time from the place where they live. It is also, he believes, spurred on by Franschhoek’s very low incidences of serious crime.
“All the draw cards traditionally recognized as making Franschhoek attractive – its wonderful climate, its delightful relaxed atmosphere, its splendid mountain scenery, its vineyards and its internationally recognized restaurants as well as its good private school, Bridge House, and the steady expansion of its commercial centre have been further popularized by good marketing.”
To take just one example, says Hugo, the wine train and tram which takes people to local vineyards was fully booked throughout last summer – and local restaurants have reported high levels of attendance and great enthusiasm for the Franschhoek culinary experience.
At this stage, adds Hugo, there can be fewer better property buys for those looking for capital growth and a pleasant lifestyle than a Franschhoek property.