Harfield Village and Kenilworth, complementary neighbourhoods
ALTHOUGH investment interest in trendy, picturesque Harfield Village has not waned this year, a slowdown in the number of sales indicates buyers are looking at the market more carefully and investigating whether they might derive more value in surrounding suburbs.
Comprising 80 percent single title properties and renowned for its quaint historic cottages, quiet leafy streets and vibrant business hub, this popular southern suburbs enclave has enjoyed a buoyant market over the past six years, with the average sale price of houses increasing steadily since 2010.
Cecile Leck, of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Harfield Village and Kenilworth, says: “The market recovered very quickly from the 2008 crash and by 2010 the average house price was back to its previous high of R1.4 million.
“Property values continued on their upward trajectory and by 2013 the average house price had risen to R1.7m, jumping to R2.3m in 2015 and, despite marginally lower sales this year, the average house price at the end of the second quarter of 2016 was R2.64m.”
“Between July 2015 and June 2016, 42 freehold properties were sold with two being at the lower end of the market at an average sale price of R1.3m, 35 in the mid-market R1.5m to R3m price band, and five were sold for more than R3m.
“However, during the past three months only nine single title homes were sold, eight of which were in the middle market and one in the upper R3m plus segment.”
The same pattern can be seen in the sectional title market with nine sales in the preceding year but only one sale during the past three months, although Leck says that at the lower end of the market, homes priced below R1.5m are still selling well.
But, despite the dip in sales the suburb has fared better than many other areas which also saw a corresponding decline in property values, and Leck’s partner, Dave Burger, believes that one of the main reasons for this is the suburb’s appeal factors, its sense of community and village atmosphere.
“Residents love the fact that they can just stroll down the road to meet friends for coffee or enjoy a meal at one of several restaurants.
“Young investors and first time buyers are increasingly attracted by the vibrant atmosphere and the fact that all the essential amenities are right on their doorstep, while everything else they may need is just a five minute drive away in neighbouring Claremont.”
But, with entry level prices starting at around R1.4m for a rare two-bedroom apartment and R2.3 for a townhouse or two- bedroom cottage, many first time buyers can’t afford to buy in the village, especially now that banks are clamping down on lending and many are tightening deposit criteria.
Lew Geffen says that these investors are now looking to adjacent Kenilworth where they can enter the market for under R1m and still enjoy easy access to the amenities and trendy social node in Harfield Village.
“In Kenilworth more than 60 percent of the homes are sectional title, with an entry level prices of around R900 000. Sales volumes in Kenilworth have also taken a dip in recent months, although the lower end of the market remains active.
“A total of 362 apartments were sold between July 2015 and June this year, while only 62 were sold in the second quarter of 2016.
“The decline in sales is more obvious in the middle and upper markets. In the preceding 12 months; there were 186 sales in the R800 000 to R1.5m bracket, 113 sales in the R1.5m to R3m price band and 14 apartments were sold for more than R3m.
“But during the past three months, only 29 properties were sold for between R800 000 and R1.5m, there were 20 sales in the R1.5m to R3m price band and no apartments priced higher than R3m were sold.”
However, Leck and Burger remain upbeat as both suburbs offer many attractions for buyers.
Not only are they near to several good schools, but Cavendish Square is just around the corner.
This spacious two-bedroom apartment in a block on Rosmead Avenue in Kenilworth has an open plan living area and garden and mountain views. On the market for R1.475 million, it includes a garage and a parking bay.