Areas and Places

Historic Kalk Bay & St James experiencing renewed interest

Kalk Bay Home, Cape Town
Built in the late 1800s, this Victorian homestead set in an established garden is ideally positioned overlooking the ocean. On the market for R10.5 million, this property is a perfect as spacious family home, boutique hotel or B&B as it has two lounges, a sun room, two offices, five bedrooms, a library and off-street parking for five cars.

Growing investor interest in the historic False Bay villages of Kalk Bay and St James in Cape Town’s False Bay has spurred the revival of this scenic coastal strip’s status as a sought-after holiday and residential destination.

As a result property values have spiked over the past two years with demand moving to eclipse supply, especially at the lower end of the market.

Adrienne Von Ess, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s international Realty, says property prices started to rise notably in 2013 when houses for under R2 million became a distant memory.

“Last year the entry level price for houses was nudging R3m and by the end of this year we expect a freestanding home for under R5m will be a rare find”.

“The quaint houses that dominated the property landscape in Kalk Bay have become increasingly scarce as many are already under new ownership and renovated, pushing up the average sale price considerably.”

Lightstone data reveals that during the 12 months ending 30 September 2016, eight houses changed hands in Kalk Bay at a record average sale price of just over R6.3m.

According to Von Ess, the sectional title sector fared equally well during the same period when five apartments sold in the R1.5m to R3m price band at an average of R2.73m and a further six sales in the R3m-plus bracket realised an average price of R5.91m.

Steve Thomas, Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty Franchise Manager for False Bay and Noordhoek, says it’s now virtually impossible to find an apartment in Kalk Bay for less than R3m.

“And when a property of that nature does come onto the market it will be an older studio or small one bedroom unit in need of quite a lot of TLC – not just a lick of paint.”

Renowned for its colorful Victorian bathing huts, spectacular views, sheltered position, St James offers a more exclusive lifestyle away from the commercial activity of its nighbour. But the secluded tranquility now comes at a fairly hefty price, according to Thomas, with houses generally starting at R7m while it’s rare to find an apartment for less than R4m.

Von Ess agrees: “It is still possible to stumble across an older home in St James for around R6m, but these properties are few and far between. In fact, most homes are now in the R10m plus price band.”

Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says that whilst the surge in demand and investor interest has been the main driving force behind the market revival in these suburbs, its continued growth is being fueled by limited availability.

“Kalk Bay and St James are snugly positioned between mountain and sea. With virtually no available greenfield land for further development, if demand continues at the current rate we will soon be faced with a severe shortage of sale stock.”

Geffen adds that with no further possibility of the development of estates or cluster homes, it’s not surprising that properties in the area’s only security estate are highly sought-after.

“The Majestic is especially popular with upcountry and foreign buyers who are attracted by the estate’s high level of security as well as the exclusive lifestyle that residents enjoy in a scenic, well-maintained environment.”

Von Ess adds that there are few newly built homes, with most houses now being renovated properties bought from retirees who are downsizing.

“The majority of buyers are families with school-going children, as there are several excellent private schools nearby and they are able to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle than they would in other parts of Cape Town”.

“The smaller homes flats tucked away up cobbled streets and flats near the main road in Kalk Bay attract younger people who enjoy the buzz of the village and easy access to the eclectic boutiques, cafes and restaurants as well as to the beach where they can hop into the ocean for a swim or surf”.

“Although the city is only a 30 minute drive, living in Kalk Bay and St James feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle. Residents don’t easily move from the area and its unique lifestyle that offers an ever-present holiday atmosphere.”

There are few places where outdoor lovers are as spoilt for choice. Along the oceanfront they can indulge in meandering board walks, water sports and an invigorating dip in the tidal pools or sea, and the mountains above Boyes Drive have several marked trails that attract trail runners and hikers, who enjoy a profusion of bird life, indigenous vegetation and spectacular sea views.