Areas and Places

Somerset West tops the Helderberg property market

The Somerset West & Helderberg view from Erinvale Golf Estate.

The beautiful village of Somerset West now comfortably tops the Helderberg property market and in terms of demand and average prices and now rivals Stellenbosch in terms of values.

That is the word from Loretta Diab, manager for Seeff Somerset West who says that the village has in recent years become one of the most sought-after residential hot spots in the country and sales, prices and the property statistics for the market reflects that.

It is especially upcountry buyers from areas such as Johannesburg and Pretoria that are flocking to the village, she says. The winelands lifestyle is a massive draw card for out of town buyers, upcountry and foreign buyers alike, and Somerset West is seen as a highly desirable area.

Somerset West is indeed a prime winelands town, she adds. We have two of the country’s top historic wine farms right in the heart of the village, Lourensford and Vergelegen.

Add to that, the smorgasbord of wine estates in the vicinity, barely minutes’ drive away not to mention the scenic beauty of the mountains and vineyards all around.

There is for example Vergenoegd, famed for its flock of ducks and lovely restaurant, Pomegranate along with Waterford and its top 10 ranked restaurant, perched high up on the mountain with fabulous views over the Helderberg.

All of this activity and demand has propelled property prices in the village, says Diab. Somerset West now boasts the highest average prices in the Helderberg and is certainly rivalling Stellenbosch desirability, demand and price stakes.

The average price for freehold property for example now stands at around R2.56 million. This is not only 50% up from five years ago, but is now at a very similar level to the average price in Stellenbosch while it is significantly higher than that of the Strand and even Gordon’s Bay which boasts many millionaire homes.

Sectional title property in Somerset West now sells for around R1.5 million on average, about 36% more than five years ago.

Comparatively, the Strand and Gordon’s Bay boasts a freehold price of only around R1.2 million and a very modest sectional title price of around R750,000-R800,000.

These days, Somerset is also home to a number of millionaires and millionaire homes that are easily priced to the R25M to R30M price mark.

“The latest Lightstone data also confirms that the Somerset West property market is remarkably resilient in the face of a declining economy”, says Diab.

Overall sales volumes for the 2015 year was for example very much on par with the pre-2007/8 highs with some 1,200 transactions recorded for the year. The volume traded for 2015 was also only about 15% below the market peak of 2014.

While the sub-R3 million price band remains the most active, top end sales prices of luxury homes have comfortably reached R3.7 million in Fairview Heights, R4.5 million and R5.2 million in Dennegeur Estate, R5 million in Boskloof Estate, R6 million in Bellaire Estate and R6.5 million in Spanish Farm.

Diab says the laid-back country lifestyle, scenic surrounds and surprising centrality are factors often cited by newcomers to the area. The migration to the Cape has certainly boosted activity considerably with out-of-town buyers now easily comprising around 40% of our buyer interest, she adds.

“Living here, means you have quick access to Cape Town, the main winelands towns of Stellenbosch and even Paarl and of course the remaining Helderberg towns of Strand and Gordon’s Bay for work purposes”.

“You are also close to some of the best schools in the country in Stellenbosch and Paarl along with those in the southern suburbs and, you are close to two of the country’s top universities, Stellenbosch and UCT”.

The airport is also close by for those with business interests in other centres such as Johannesburg and also for European Swallows, especially from the northern European countries such as Germany who absolutely love the village.

“At this stage, demand is still outstripping supply and it is still a favourable phase for sellers, especially in the R2.2 million to R2.9 million price range where there is now very little stock on the market”, says Diab.

“Sellers are still achieving their asking prices, even in instances where the prices are a bit higher than the market trend”, she adds.

“We have the buyers but do not have the stock to show them. Sole mandates have become a vital differentiator, now more than ever. If we look at what the economy is doing, then sellers are well advised to act sooner rather than later as there is an inevitable slow-down looming in view of the overall economic outlook”
For now though, buyers are still descending on the village from just about across the globe, although Diab says it is predominantly South Africans who are buying.

It is also not just older buyers, but there is a clear shift in the buyer demographic. This is supported by the latest Lightstone figures that shows that about 40% of recent buyers are younger, under the age of forty.

While Somerset West enjoys an undeniably scenic setting, Diab says the properties are as attractive. While there are many older homes, we have a wide selection of fabulous luxury homes priced in the R2.5 million to R7.5 million range, but prices range to as much as R20 million at the top end.

There are also a number of exclusive security estates such as Erinvale Golf Estate that offer a fabulous lifestyle and magnificent homes, from Moroccan inspired to ultra-modern, priced from around R10 million to R21.95 million at the top end. Other popular estates include Bellaire and Helderberg Estate where the vistas and lifestyle is really top class.

“Then, there are top end suburbs such as Spanish Farm, Fairview Heights too offer a selection of beautiful mansions with expansive gardens, swimming pools and often with stunning views over the Helderberg and out to the False Bay coast”.