Areas and Places

Winelands a trend-leader with the Cape’s first super estate

Paarl may still be regarded as a sleepy country town compared to its bustling Mother City neighbour, but this fast-developing node is also pioneering a first for the Western Cape with a landmark property deal that has seen the amalgamation of its two most sought-after lifestyle residential estates.

The Cape’s first super-estate has been formed with the merger of Pearl Valley and Val de Vie, with the exclusive award-winning developments poised to become a single luxurious, self-sustaining community adjacent to one of South Africa’s most beautiful towns.

And prospects for this super estate are so positive that billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Capital has just bought a 20% stake as its maiden foray into property investment.

Now collectively known as Val de Vie Estate, residents of the new 900-hectare development will ultimately benefit across the board from multiple strategies in planning that will reduce costs as well as augment lifestyle advantages, especially once infrastructure is in place to grant unobstructed access between the two properties.

Dr George Cilliers, Winelands Co-Principal of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says: “The primary economic advantage will be the reduction of levies due to the consolidation of security, maintenance and landscaping costs”.

“And, once the planned changes and upgrades have been implemented, residents will eventually enjoy shared and easy access to amenities on both estates, including the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf course, fitness centres, tennis and squash courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, equestrian facilities and two polo fields.”

Cilliers adds that more immediate advantages include the new bridge being constructed over the Berg River which will afford quicker access to the R45 Simondium road and the N1, cutting travelling time to Stellenbosch by 10 minutes, as well as the broad choice of property options now available to investors.

“Within Val de Vie are sub-sections to suit a variety of budgets and lifestyle requirements, including The Vines, Pearl Valley, The Reserve, The Polo Village, The Gentleman’s Estate, River Club, The Oaks and Le Vue, with the Val de Vie Manor retirement village due for launch in September.”

Currently vacant land is priced from R1.69 million to R4m, resort lodges from R3.95m and residential houses range between R 5.2m and R28.5m, depending on size and location.

Leigh Robertson, Residential Estate Specialist at Pearl Valley for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty says: “During the decade that I have exclusively sold Pearl Valley property, there has been a consistent demand. On the face of it the estate has been impervious to market trends and the2008 credit crunch, as well as the current market slump”.

“Pearl Valley has consistently been rated among the top five golf courses in South Africa over the past ten years and was named ‘Best Residential Estate in South Africa’ last year in a New World Wealth survey.”

Robertson adds that Val de Vie’s multiple awards, which include “Safest House in Africa” and “Best Development in South Africa” make it the perfect partner for the ground-breaking merger.

“Both estates are well-established with excellent infrastructure as well as quality landscaping and architecture, and they offer myriad luxury lifestyle facilities in one of the most scenic and sought-after areas in the country.”

Annelize Reinmuller, Robertson’s Partner Specialist with Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, adds: “The estates are also well-positioned within the Winelands, with easy access to many good schools, surrounding towns and to Cape Town and the airport.”

Between them, the partners have closed 25 sales at Pearl Valley this year alone, with their highest prices realised being R3.8m for a plot and R15m for a residential home. However last year they achieved the highest price ever in the joint estate when they sold a luxurious property for R22.5m.

Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says: “The positive market response to the assimilation of the estates is evidenced by the African Rainbow Capital investment, especially since this is the first property acquisition the fund has made in South Africa”.

“The large investment underscores the fact that this super estate’s prospects are extremely positive despite the general state of the economy, and epitomises what buyers are looking for in the Western Cape Winelands.”

Recent sales in both estates also mirror an emergent trend which is seeing a growing demand from younger investors, with just over 50% of buyers now being in the 36 to 49-year-old category whilst less than a third are aged between 50 and 64.

Says Reinmuller: “South African buyers generally dominate the Winelands market, but in these estates there is a balance between local and European buyers, with the majority of South African investors being mainly from Gauteng and the foreigner buyers from the UK.”

The Lightstone Overview of the Property Industry presented at Pearl Valley Golf & Country Estate in March this year revealed that around 318 000 of all residential properties (5.2%) in South Africa are now within secure gated communities.

But while estates may only comprise around 5% of the overall housing market supply they account for a staggering 15% share of total market value, according to the property analytics company.

Fifty per cent of estates are in Gauteng and 25% in the Western Cape and, with a combined value of R643 billion at an average of R2m per property, this is almost three times the national average of R700 000 per home.

Reinmuller concludes: “The demand for homes in secure estates is definitely increasing throughout South Africa but in areas like the Winelands the already strong local demand is compounded by the influx of upcountry and foreign buyers, which has resulted in a dearth of available stock, especially on the most popular estates.”