Gar­den Route properties grab at­ten­tion

For­eign buy­ers ‘mov­ing in swiftly’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - JOHN HARVEY

AF­TER five years of poor sales, properties on the Gar­den Route are once again be­com­ing sought-af­ter com­modi­ties for the for­eign mar­ket.

With the dol­lar strength­en­ing notably against the rand in the past two years, and world mar­kets start­ing to re­cover from the 2008 eco­nomic re­ces­sion, Ger­mans, Amer­i­cans, Bri­tish and Swiss are once again flock­ing to the pic­turesque re­gion to buy hol­i­day and re­tire­ment homes at favourable prices.

For March and April, Pam Gold­ing Properties’ sales to­talled R26.8 mil­lion, way higher than the R13.8m in sales of the same pe­riod last year.

Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional has also seen a 40 per­cent in­crease in sales com­pared to last year.

“The mar­ket has been very de­pressed, but for the first time in five years we saw peo­ple look­ing to buy properties dur­ing the re­cent Knysna Oys­ter Fes­ti­val,” said Pam Gold­ing’s Ling Dobson. “It has been a huge im­prove­ment – a mir­a­cle. Be­cause the rand is so de­pressed for­eign­ers such as Ger­mans, Amer­i­cans and Swiss are mov­ing in swiftly.”

Dobson said aver­age prices on Knysna’s Th­e­sen Is­land were be­tween R3m and R7m, and the de­sire to buy on Knysna’s pri­vate es­tates like Pezula was great.

A South African buyer re­cently be­came the owner of a R23m prop­erty at Pezula, show­ing there was also re­newed in­ter­est in high-end properties among lo­cals.

“Last week I sold a R6.5m prop­erty to a for­eign cou­ple who had un­der­taken a road trip from Cape Town to Zimbabwe, and they told me that the Gar­den Route was head and shoul­ders above any­where else they had seen in south­ern Africa.”

Dobson had also spo­ken to a num­ber of ar­chi­tects, who had been asked to draw up plans for new homes in Plet­ten­berg Bay.

“Our clients range from mid­dle-aged to re­tire­ment-age peo­ple, who have seen that the time to buy is now.”

Sotheby’s agent Peter Mare, who sells properties in Knysna and Sedge­field, was equally buoy­ant about the up­turn.

“There has def­i­nitely been re­newed in­ter­est. Ob­vi­ously, our cur­rency fluc­tu­ates and that de­ter­mines whether it is a buyer’s or seller’s mar­ket, but I am pleas­antly op­ti­mistic about where things are go­ing.

“Turnovers for this pe­riod are about 40 per­cent up on last year. I spoke to head of­fice the other day and was told that properties in the big cen­tres like Jo­han­nes­burg and Cape Town are also sell­ing well, and it fol­lows that this trend fil­ters down to us.”

He said be­cause there were many properties avail­able, buy­ers were be­ing se­lec­tive in their choices, which meant cur­rent prices were “very sen­si­ble”.

“In Sedge­field, to which many peo­ple re­tire, properties can go for R1.5m, so peo­ple are will­ing to shop around for those deals and be wise about their pur­chases.”

Ac­cord­ing to First National Bank’s prop­erty barom­e­ter, aver­age house prices in hol­i­day towns grew 0.9 per­cent last year, af­ter fall­ing 5.2 per­cent the pre­vi­ous year. – Gar­den Route Me­dia

PIC­TURES: EWALD STANDER

NEW HOME: The f)irst an­i­mals ar­rive at the Jukani Wildlife Sanc­tu­ary.

MIR­A­CLE RE­COV­ERY: Properties on Th­e­sen Is­land, above, and in pri­vate es­tates like Pezula, be­low, are very much in de­mand.

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