Con­stan­tia’s laid-back life­style and se­cu­rity sees the mar­ket on the rise

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

DRIVEN by de­mand from up­coun­try buy­ers, the res­i­den­tial mar­ket in Con­stan­tia has re­mained de­fi­ant of the eco­nomic down­turn, with the gap be­tween list­ing and sell­ing price as well as time spent on the mar­ket be­ing con­sid­er­ably lower dur­ing the first six months of 2016 than the same pe­riod last year.

This is ac­cord­ing to Joanna Thomas of Lew Gef­fen Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Re­alty in Con­stan­tia, who says: “Ac­cord­ing to Props­tats data the mar­ket has re­mained con­sis­tently strong dur­ing the past six years, with the average dif­fer­ence be­tween mar­keted and sale price de­creas­ing yearly. The no­table dis­crep­ancy of 19 per­cent in 2010 re­duced to 15.1 per­cent in 2013 and 11.8 per­cent in 2014; shrink­ing even fur­ther to 9.8 per­cent by the end of 2015.”

Thomas says there is no doubt that the in­flux of peo­ple into the Cape has boosted de­mand, with up to 65 per­cent of all their re­cent sales be­ing to up­coun­try buy­ers.

“Gaut­eng in­vestors still ac­count for the ma­jor­ity of up­coun­try buy­ers but we are field­ing an in­creas­ing num­ber of queries from KwaZulu-Na­tal buy­ers who are also drawn by the sub­urb’s lower crime rates, bet­ter mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices, prox­im­ity to good schools and au­then­tic coun­try life­style.”

Thomas says the Lew Gef­fen team has ex­pe­ri­enced a flurry of sales in the area over the past six months.

Arnold Maritz, south­ern sub­urbs co-prin­ci­pal for Lew Gef­fen, says the buoy­ancy is be­ing driven by the very ac­tive lower to mid-mar­ket seg­ment, rel­a­tive to the overall pric­ing in the area.

“Around 80 per­cent of sales in Con­stan­tia ‘Up­per’ are prop­er­ties priced be­low R13.5m, with the strong­est de­mand be­ing for homes in se­cu­rity es­tates priced be­tween R6m and R8.5m. There is also grow­ing interest in older free­stand­ing homes in need of ren­o­va­tion which can oc­ca­sion­ally still be found for around R7.5m.”

Lew Gef­fen says there has also been a no­tice­able rise in the num­bers of in­vestors buy­ing prop­erty to live in at a later stage, which has re­sulted in a surge of homes on the rental mar­ket.

“As­tute in­vestors are re­al­is­ing that it makes sense to buy sooner rather than later as prop­erty prices are un­likely to drop in the fore­see­able fu­ture. And, with prop­erty val­ues con­sis­tently grow­ing at above in­fla­tion rates, buy­ing prop­erty in one of the coun­try’s strong­est mar­kets is an ex­cel­lent in­vest­ment in un­cer­tain so­cio-eco­nomic times.”

Cit­ing Light­stone data, Gef­fen says the average year-onyear per­cent­age in­crease in prop­erty value in Con­stan­tia ‘Up­per’ since 2010 equates to al­most 8 per­cent a year over five years, with a sharp spike over the past two years, when the average sell­ing price in­creased by 15.87 per­cent be­tween 2013 and 2014, and by 17.1 per­cent be­tween 2014 and 2015.

Thomas says more than half of prop­er­ties in Con­stan­tia have been owned by the same peo­ple con­tin­u­ously for 11 years or longer, a fur­ther 15 per­cent have not trans­ferred own­er­ship for be­tween eight and 10 years.

“There are very few ar­eas in the coun­try which of­fer the same sta­bil­ity and at­trac­tions as Con­stan­tia. Res­i­dents have the con­ve­nience of an es­tab­lished in­fra­struc­ture and ac­cess to first rate ameni­ties.

“Con­stan­tia has abun­dant stretches of pro­tected green­belt and out­door en­thu­si­asts are spoilt for choice with many fa­cil­i­ties on their doorsteps. There are end­less kilo­me­tres of bik­ing and hik­ing trails as well as a num­ber of well- main­tained parks.”

Con­stan­tia’s trump card, how­ever, is the peace of mind its ef­fec­tive se­cu­rity ini­tia­tive af­fords res­i­dents.

“Crime has dropped dra­mat­i­cally since the Con­stan­tia Crime Watch was formed, with high- tech fea­tures such as CCTV cam­eras and ther­mal imaging.”

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