With property prices in many of Cape Town’s central Southern Suburbs rising above the average family budget, more and more young buyers are looking slightly further afield for a leafy school neighbourhood in which to raise their children. For already popular – yet more affordable – outlying suburbs like Kirstenhof, this has created a surge in market activity by buyers under the age of 36.
“Kirstenhof has always been a favourite with young buyers,” says David Eastman, a Rawson Property Group sales agent who is active in the area. “It has easy freeway access, great local amenities, a wonderful primary school, and a wide selection of property types at comparatively affordable price points. It’s an ideal area for young professionals looking to start a family in a comfortable home, and more and more people are becoming aware of that fact as prices skyrocket across the city.”
Of course, with the increasing demand, properties in Kirstenhof have also seen excellent growth, and the average sales price increased by R332 000 over the course of 2014/2015. This has certainly not deterred buyers, however, and sales frequently occur within days – if not hours – of listing.
“Properties under R2 million are the most sought-after at present,” says Eastman, “with over 42% of buyers between the ages of 36-49 and 33% 18-35. Most of these are couples who either already have young children or are planning on starting a family soon.”
Price ranges for family-style, freestanding homes in Kirstenhof range from R 1 million to R3.55 million, with erf sizes of between 110m² and 1600m². Townhouses start a R1 300 000, and properties in lifestyle estates typically sell for between R2 million and R3 million.
“We are definitely still on the value-for-money end of the scale,” says Eastman, “which also makes our properties ideal for buy-to-let investors. There’s huge demand for rental properties, and returns can be very good.”
As for capital appreciation, the jury is still out on what 2016 holds for the property market as a whole, but Eastman believes that positive growth will continue in Kirstenhof over the course of this year. “I don’t think interest rates, tax and transfer costs will impact sales in the neighbourhood too dramatically,” he says. “Despite the economic downturn, there is always a demand for affordable, quality homes. We may see a few more properties coming onto the market from existing owners who are overextended, but demand is likely to stay strong enough that this won’t cause too much stagnation.”
For buyers looking to take advantage of this situation, Eastman cautions against making hasty purchases, despite the current market conditions that encourage quick sales. “Make sure you compare properties in the area to get an idea of realistic market value before you make an offer, especially if you’re a first-time buyer or are new to the neighbourhood. It’s also very important to do due diligence on the property you’re buying – a home inspection can save you a lot of money and heartache in the long run.”
For sellers, Eastman also advises patience. “Take the time to make sure everything is in great condition before you list your property,” he says. “Tidy, clean, paint and fix anything broken – but avoid major, last-minute renovations. These won’t necessarily add value to your home, especially if your taste doesn’t coincide with that of your buyer, and you may well end up seeing your brand new additions being knocked down as soon as you move out.”
Eastman also stresses the importance of using an experienced agent with access to in-depth market data when evaluating your home. “Any agent who shows up with nothing more than a Comparative Market Analysis Report isn’t worth your time. A truly market-related property estimation requires a lot of detail and research, and is a lot more accurate as a result.”