Areas and Places

Wellington's residential property market boosted by upcountry buyers

A picturesque view of Wellington’s majestic mountains and beautiful winelands.

Two new interrelated trends have significantly bolstered the Wellington residential property market this year, says Tertius Joubert, the Rawson Property Group’s franchisee for this area.

These, he says, are, firstly, the big rise in the number of enquiries coming to agents via the internet (80% of serious enquiries now come through this medium) and, secondly, an upswing in enquiries from provinces to the north of the Western Cape, especially Gauteng.

Joubert says that those migrating from the north are often attracted by the idea of living in the Cape Winelands and at today’s prices Wellington homes are far less expensive than those of other Cape Winelands centres, particularly Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. The buyers from upcountry, he says, are, it seems, in search of greater security, good schools and more efficient local administration. Wellington appeals to them because it is still by and large a very safe place in which to live and its gated security villages are particularly well protected.

Wellington’s ability to give real value for money is also, says Joubert, a very real attraction and this is particularly noticeable among the more expensive homes which in general are priced at 30 to 40% lower than those of similar quality homes in other Cape Winelands towns.

This franchise is the sole agency for homes in two of Wellington’s new security villages and these, too, illustrate the value for money that can be obtained in Wellington. In Bainsvallei Estate, for example, a two bedroom home with a single garage can be bought for as little as R835,000 plus R350,00 for the plot.

The rise in the demand for Wellington homes has, says Marisa Visagie, Joubert’s senior agent, caused prices this year to escalate by just over 10%, with the result that today there are almost no freestanding homes for sale at below R1,2 million and most of the sales that do take place are in the R1,2 million to R1,6 million bracket. However, says Visagie, the buyers from upcountry are often able to afford more expensive homes and this has for the first time in many years brought about a revival in sales activity in the R2,2 million to R3 million bracket. A home priced by this franchise at R1,850,000 attracted 24 internet enquiries and was sold and transferred within one month, the first offer being received within less than a week.

In the sectional title apartment and townhouse market, says Visagie, most of the enquiries are for two bedroom units selling at ± R650,000, but flats can be found for as little as R485,000. On the rental front, Wellington, being a town in which there are several tertiary education campuses, single student accommodation can be rented for as little as R2,000 per month but the majority of sectional title leases are signed up at R6,000 to R10,000 per month.

Some idea of the value obtainable in Wellington can be gained from one of the homes now on offer at R1,850,000. This home, which has panoramic views across vineyards and vleis, has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, three communal areas, a family room and two garages. Such a home in, say, Rondebosch or Claremont in Cape Town would probably be priced at ± R4 million, says Joubert.

Can the present conditions continue?

Joubert says that there is as yet no sign of a slowing down in demand and his team has regularly been selling six to eight houses per month. Stock shortages, he says, will continue to be a problem, but not an insurmountable one.