Garden Route properties grab attention
Foreign buyers ‘moving in swiftly’
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
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.