Areas and Places

Lack of space for expansion underpins Stellenbosch's rising property values

Indicative of the high demand for residential property in the town of Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands, each year some 500 to 600 homes are purchased, being mainly repeat sales of houses and apartments and excluding any new development stock – which is also highly sought after.

“As a permanent residential destination, the supply of available housing stock both to buy and rent in Stellenbosch is considerably exceeded by the demand from home buyers who span a broad cross-section, from families to young professionals, students and retirees,” says Louise Varga, Pam Golding Properties area manager in Stellenbosch.

“Being surrounded by mountains, wine farms and already developed suburbs, there is limited or virtually no space for further expansion to accommodate the exponentially increasing demand for residences – a factor which underpins the sound capital growth of property values in the area, which in turn impacts on affordability for younger buyers.

“As a result, we are finding a growing trend towards older homes being renovated to suit a more modern open-plan lifestyle which is so popular today. The suburb of Brandwacht is a case in point, being characterised by spacious erven and older 1970s houses which are now being snapped up and renovated by younger families who like the convenient proximity to schools, the university and the CBD of Stellenbosch.”

Prices of homes in Brandwacht vary from R3.5 million for a ‘renovator’s dream’ to R8 million for a property on a double plot. The ‘guinea fowl’ house, a landmark in upper Brandwacht with scenic mountain and vineyard views has been sold by Pam Golding Properties for R5 million.

“This still represents good value for money, as high end residential property in Mostertsdrift or De Zalze would be more than double in price,” says Varga.

The higher lying areas of Brandwacht enjoy magnificent vistas over Stellenbosch extending even as far as Table Mountain in the distance, but perhaps even more spectacular are the views of Stellenbosch Mountain, particularly in the late afternoon when it takes on various hues of pink from the setting sun.

It was therefore inevitable that the launch of the new 120-unit development, Brandwacht Aan Rivier in 2010 was phenomenally successful, with 80 percent of the plots sold through Pam Golding Properties within the first three weeks. PGP already had a waiting list of 260 potential buyers when the development was launched, so the development sold out immediately.

A short drive to Stellenbosch for work, shopping or medical care and a few minutes from top schools such as Renish, Paul Roos and Eikestad Laerskool, residents on the estate return home to a relaxed country setting where they can enjoy quality time with family or friends. The value of the architectural guidelines can be seen in the harmonious character of the development with its green open spaces, walkways and river.

The popularity of this security estate is evidenced by the steady stream of resales and escalation of prices. Plots that originally sold for R895 000 are now achieving prices of R1.8 million a mere four-and-a-half years later. There is continued demand but currently little stock available, says PGP agent Di van Graan. “Currently we have a 697sqm stand which just became available as a resale priced at R3.6 million – and is already attracting keen interest.

“The majority of purchasers have bought with the intention of living on the estate, and with the five-year building time limit ensuring rapid development, there are now 64 permanent residents with a further 28 owners in various stages of the building process. To date only two homes have been resold – a 325sqm house on a 464sqm plot which we sold for R4.2 million, and a 362sqm house on a 425sqm plot which fetched approximately R4.9 million.

“One owner has four houses which are rented out for approximately R24 000 per month each for four bedrooms, and also owns a further two plots on which he plans to build homes for the rental market.”

Van Graan says the homes in Brandwacht Aan Rivier are all luxury residences, with the average building cost estimated to be in excess of R12 000 per square metre. “On the smaller plots I estimate that owners are investing in excess of R3 million in building their new homes, and on the larger plots anything between R5 million and R10 million. As the allowed coverage is 50 percent, and with a height restriction of eight metres, you can build a double-storey house the equivalent of the square metres of the plot.”

She says buyers in Brandwacht and Brandwacht Aan Rivier comprise locals from Stellenbosch, Cape Town and the Northern Suburbs as well as from Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape. “They are a mix of well-established, mature couples with adult children to young couples looking for a home that will accommodate their future family. Most are professional people with an appreciation of nature that the many parks and beautiful trees provide. It’s amazing to see how many people are up and about in the early hours of the morning jogging, walking and cycling and generally just enjoying life in the suburbs.”