Eco-es­tate liv­ing be­comes pop­u­lar in False Bay

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

MORE buy­ers are in­vest­ing in a “green” life­style in gated eco es­tates in the False Bay area, where Lew Gef­fen Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty False Bay has sold R100 mil­lion worth of properties re­cently, says agent Steve Thomas.

“Young fam­i­lies and first-time buy­ers are drawn to the area be­cause it of­fers an af­ford­able life­style that’s close to na­ture and within easy reach of the city. Pop­u­lar eco de­vel­op­ments in No­ord­hoek in­clude De Goede Hoop and Lake Michelle es­tates.

“In Lake Michelle a typ­i­cal fourbed­roomed home with 2.5 bath­rooms sells for R3m to R7m, whereas a four-bed­roomed home in De Goede Hoop can fetch up to R30m. The aver­age sell­ing price for homes in the wider False Bay re­gion is around R2m,” says Thomas.

He says homes in eco de­vel­op­ments in False Bay are sell­ing quickly be­cause of the high de­mand for the se­cu­rity of es­tate liv­ing, com­bined with in­creased aware­ness of en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues.

On aver­age, a unit in Lake Michelle, once voted the green­est de­vel­op­ment by SA Prop­erty Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, sells in less than 90 days af­ter be­ing listed.

There has been a surge in ac­tiv­ity in South Africa’s green build­ing sec­tor this year. The govern­ment, busi­nesses and res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ers are in­creas­ingly em­brac­ing sus­tain­able build­ing meth­ods.

Green Build­ing Coun­cil of SA (GBSA) says six green-build­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions were awarded last month, bring­ing the num­ber of Green Star­rated build­ings to 36.

The Green Star SA rat­ing tools take into con­sid­er­a­tion ma­te­ri­als used in con­struc­tion, en­ergy, land use and trans­port.

“The GBCSA is very en­cour­aged to see this spike in the num­ber of build­ings achiev­ing Green Star SA rat­ings,” says chief ex­ec­u­tive Brian Wilkin­son.

“We are con­fi­dent that the green­build­ing move­ment in South Africa will con­tinue grow­ing and that green- build­ing prac­tices will be­come the norm.”

Many first-time buy­ers are be­ing in­flu­enced by grow­ing in­ter­na­tional aware­ness of en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues. Young par­ents feel a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity to­wards their chil­dren and are keen to pre­serve the en­vi­ron­ment for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

They are also at­tracted by the cost- sav­ing po­ten­tial of g reen homes. Elec­tric­ity prices have risen by 78 per­cent be­tween 2008 and 2011 in real terms, and this month the tar­iff in­creased by 8 per­cent.

“Hikes in power bills have more home­buy­ers across the board pri­ori­tis­ing so­lar-heat­ing panels, in­su­la­tion in ceil­ings and other mea­sures that save power,” says Thomas.

He says up to one-third of homes on eco es­tates have so­lar-heat­ing panels in­stalled, and es­ti­mates that no more than one-tenth of res­i­den­tial properties have so­lar heat­ing.

“With the good value No­ord­hoek of­fers and the steady de­mand for prop­erty in the area, buy­ers of properties in th­ese eco es­tates should ex­pe­ri­ence a steady growth in their in­vest­ment as de­mand con­tin­ues to out­strip sup­ply,” he says.

Lew Gef­fen, chair­man of Lew Gef­fen Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty, says that eco es­tates are not only in­creas­ing in pop­u­lar­ity in the False Bay area.

He says this seems to be a na­tion­wide trend as buy­ers snap up al­lot­ments and homes in de­vel­op­ments like Boskloof Eco Es­tate in Somerset West, Sim­bithi Eco Es­tate in Bal­lito, KwaZulu Na­tal, and Mey­ers­dal Eco Es­tate in Joburg.

“Eco es­tates of­fer the se­cu­rity and sense of com­mu­nity that make tra­di­tional es­tate liv­ing so pop­u­lar, but with the added ben­e­fit of cost­sav­ing green fea­tures and fa­cil­i­ties other es­tates might not have.

“This makes eco es­tates very at­trac­tive to young buy­ers want­ing to save where they can, as well as peo­ple want­ing to down­scale,” says Gef­fen.

GREEN LIFE­STYLE: This Stone­haven home is for sale for R4.9 mil­lion.

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