With security and lifestyle now ranking as a top priority for buyers, the fact that Somerset West is home to more than 40 such estates has become a major draw-card for the market here and has contributed to the rise in demand and average property values.
According to Loretta Diab, manager for Seeff’s operations in the area, this is not just boosting general demand for homes in the area, but the median property values in gated and security estates is up by some 27% (freehold) in Schonenberg. Erinvale Golf Estate has also increased in value over the last two and a half years.
“We have seen a major shift in the buying patterns and for about 80% of buyers, security is now a top priority”, she says. “And, if they can afford it, they would like to live in an estate that offers added lifestyle features such as a golf course, club house and grounds where home owners can enjoy the wonderful outdoor lifestyle that South Africa is so famous for”.
The biggest demand is in the R1.5m to R1.9m price range and, says Diab, if Seeff had twenty of these on our books, we would sell them all immediately, such is the demand.
“One of the most popular estates right now is Schonenberg Estate, situated just off the N2 on the edge of the village, adjacent to the famous Lord Nelson Hotel”, says Diab.
It is some 70ha in extent with 650 single residential homes and a retirement village in a typical Cape vineyard vernacular architectural style. The homes feature modern finishes and anything well-priced is snapped up quite quickly.
On top of the excellent location and security, the estate offers a fabulous outdoor lifestyle and boasts award-winning landscaping with scenic water dams, walkways, play areas for children and hiking and cycling trails. This is topped by stunning views of the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland Mountains.
The estate offers a mix of property that appeals to the cross section of buyers, from young first time buyers to families and of course retirees, she says. It is also suited for second home buyers such as European and Johannesburg buyers who want a lock-up-and-go in the village that is close to the airport.
“The entry level price for the estate is now R2.4m and it is very popular for rentals that start at a minimum of around R14 000 per month. There is a shortage of rental property here, so this estate is of interest to investors as well”, she says.
Schonenberg has seen excellent price growth since 2013. Based on the latest Lightstone data, the median price for sectional title is up from R1.9m in 2013 to R2.55m this year. The freehold median meanwhile has risen from R2.4m to R3.05m. This equates to a rise of 34% and 27% respectively over the period.
Somerset Heights Estate is another popular option according to Diab. Homes in the estate now start from about R3m upwards. The median price for the estate has risen from R2.1m in 2013 to R3.1m this year, although it reached R3.4m last year. The growth equates to about 48% over the two and a half year period. Prices though range to around R5.25m for a luxury home with stunning views.
The estate is home to about 50 houses on plots of around 790sqm each. Aside from top class security, residents enjoy lovely views of the surrounding landscape and mountains. The location in the heart of the village is another attraction.
Somerset Heights tends to attract mostly older buyers and only about 5% of all properties change hands here annually as home owners just do not want to move.
Then, says Diab, there are top end estates where buyers are now willing to pay substantially more. These include Bel’Aire Estate that now boasts an entry level price of R5.8m that is still climbing.
It is especially sought-after by families for its close proximity to schools and Stellenbosch. The views from the estate are quite spectacular.
“The homes are very upmarket”, says Diab. “The estate has been quite active over the last two years with around 18 transfers last year, and another 18 transactions for this year so far, says Diab. The median price has risen from around R4m in 2013 to R5.2m although it peaked at R6.3m last year. That represents growth of about 30%”.
Although there are about 220 properties in the estate, there are only a few on the market around the R7.5m-R8.5m price range.
At the top of the list, is the Erinvale Golf Estate that now boasts an entry level price of R5m. Its location in the heart of the village combines with a world-class golf course with a club house and leisure centre and facilities such as a restaurant, bar and pro-shop and fabulous views of the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland Mountains.
“The golf course ranks as one of the most sought-after in the country and top golfers, both amateur and professional, regularly visit the estate. Again, you have excellent security and open areas where residents are able to walk around freely and enjoy a quality lifestyle”, says Diab.
The homes are all unique and generally luxurious with plenty of space and superior finishes, offering everything that you would expect from a top ranked golf estate. We are now also beginning to see older homes being upgraded and remodeled as demand for the lifestyle just keeps growing exponentially.
Erinvale now boasts an entry level price of R5m. The median price is up from around R5.5m (adjusted for anomalies) in 2013 to R7.8m this year, considerably higher than two and a half years ago. A number of sales over the last year though have topped the R7.8m price mark ranging to about R17m, but Diab notes that the price has reached R22m over the last two years.
The estate has seen high demand since 2013 with 20-22 sales annually, she adds. Most buyers are slightly older, many who are either semi-retiring or retiring to the estate. Other than that, it continues to appeal to second home buyers including Europeans from Germany and the UK especially.
“Stock shortage continue to be the biggest challenge for agents in the village”, says Diab. Despite the rising values, buyers are not interested in over-priced properties though, so serious sellers would need to know that.