Ancient beauty appeals to affluent buyers
Constantia holds appeal for those looking to get away from the hectic pace of city life, as Lea Jacobs reports
AVENUES of ancient oak trees, vineyards and historical landmarks, Constantia in the Western Cape has it all. Often referred to as the jewel of the Cape, the area is steeped in history and once belonged to the erstwhile governor, Simon van der Stel.
It is telling that Van der Stel, an early Dutch settler, had the pick of any area around Cape Town, but chose Constantia. The area was renowned for its beauty and for the excellent red wines it produced. Two years after Van der Stel’s death in 1712, the farm was auctioned and subdivided into Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia and Buitenverwachting.
Residential and commercial subdividing of the land in the area began in the 1960s and today the area boasts a thriving commercial and residential community. That said, the area is by no means comparable to city living. Winelands still surround the region, lending a distinct country feel. A mere 15km from Cape Town, the region appears to be a magnet for affluent buyers looking for a quieter lifestyle.
Van der Stel chose wisely: Constantia has a temperate climate and is blessed with spectacular views. The region is also steeped in South African history and has a number of urban trails that offers scenic walks for resident walkers and joggers to enjoy the valley.
The area is close to the worldfamous Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and many fine golf clubs like Royal Cape, Westlake, Rondebosch and Mowbray.
Mike Greeff, the CEO of Greeff Properties, says if there is one security estate in upper Constantia which impresses all the agents servicing the area, it is Silverhurst Estate. Established in 1990, the development features 75 freehold properties built in the traditional Cape style.
“Homes on the estate rarely become available and are highly sought after. It is always a privilege to market any home in this particular estate, but this latest offering is truly platinum class.”
Jenny Williams, an agent with the group who lives on the estate, says it has great appeal for investors because prices have escalated at a greater rate than in the rest of the Constantia area. Knowledge Factory’s SAPTG statistics indicate that four properties on the estate sold in 2008. The lowest price achieved was R13,360m for a property on a 742m² erf. The highest price attained that year was R34m. There was one sale in 2009, with a price of R13m.
Greeff Properties currently have two listings on the estate. Williams said turnover in the estate is low and only a limited number of houses actually come onto the market.
Very few properties are vacant during the year and there are a handful of overseas investors who spend seven to eight months of every year on the estate.
Apart from the many restaurants affiliated to the wine estates, there are a wide variety of eateries throughout the district. The Constantia Village Shopping Centre has a variety of shops, restaurants and coffee bars as well as exclusive clothing and shoe boutiques. The Constantia Sports Club, with a Virgin Active gymnasium, bowling greens, tennis courts, rugby and hockey fields is close by.
There are 75 properties on the estate, 12 on grounds of 4 000m² and the others ranging from 1 350m² to 1 500m². Greeff says there cannot be further expansion on the estate because homes have been built on all the plots. “The only expansion occurs when a smaller, older home is purchased for the new owner to drastically renovate and rebuild.”
There are rules and regulations to ensure that the properties fit in with the estate and complement one another. In addition to the 24-hour security, there are large areas of private open space with two grass tennis court and a small pavilion. The homeowners association has laid out meandering walkways that run alongside the established gardens and ponds. All the properties are private and generally have excellent mountain views.
Greeff Properties currently has a mandate for a home within Silverhurst that has five en-suite bedrooms, a study and formal as well as informal living areas flowing onto a veranda that fronts onto a 25m pool. The property is situated on a sub-divisible 2 785m² garden erf that offers total privacy.
The interior spaces are filled with light from the floor to ceiling glazing. Egyptian marble floors give this home an ultra-luxurious ambience and this is enhanced by high-tech control systems for the interior temperatures, doors, sound systems and security. Covered verandas with great views and a private garden make alfresco entertaining a pleasure. Price: R70m Contact: Greeff Properties Mike Greeff 083 679 1809 Jenny Williams 083 656 6811 Office 021 763 4121
This five-bedroom Silverhurst Estate home has come onto the market and carries a price tag of R70m.