29 Feb 2012
Property buyers in South Africa are reportedly bargain hunting in some of the country’s luxury golf estates thanks to low maintenance and security.
According to Lew Geffen, chairman of Sotheby’s International Realty in South Africa, affordability is one of the main drivers fuelling the popularity of upmarket golf and lifestyle estates as well as other gated complexes.
Geffen says property buyers in search of luxury homes are currently flocking to estates in the realisation that home prices are in many cases still below 2008 levels and often well below those for comparable properties in the older, blue-chip suburbs.
Buyers want to be closer to the beach and enjoy views of Table Mountain.
Luxury property buyers are said to be actively looking at the Garden Route homes where properties can be purchased for less than R5 million in Pezula Estate overlooking the Knysna Lagoon as well as KwaZulu-Natal where luxury estate homes or upgrade opportunities in Ballito and Mount Edgecombe sell for less than R3 million.
‘It is important to note that many of those buying into the top-rated estates are currently not only paying less than they might have expected for their new homes, but also getting a lot more luxury features for their money,” says Geffen.
These homes feature gourmet kitchens fitted with top-of-the-line appliances through central vacuum systems, underfloor heating and full home automation to home theatres, libraries and additional guest flats or staff quarters.
He says the added bonus is that many of the larger estates now incorporate upmarket apartment and townhouse developments, which facilitate entry for younger buyers who later upgrade.
They also accommodate older buyers seeking to downsize to homes on estates that offer additional security and less maintenance.
According to the Knight Frank Prime Global Cities Index Q4 2011 report, the value of prime property in the world’s key cities rose by only 0.2 percent.
Writing in the report, Kate Everett-Allen says the luxury housing market is now seeing the pace of price growth slip for the second time since the 2008/09 global financial crisis.
The report reveals that when examining the regions in property price changes, Africa showed the most growth of 13.7 percent, followed by North America recording 8.3 percent, Middle East 2.5 percent, Europe 1.6 percent and Asia -1.0 percent.
The city of Nairobi in Kenya was ranked number one in the top 23 cities surveyed by Knight Frank in Q4 2011 with a 25.0 percent annual price change from December 2010 to December 2011.
Cape Town was ranked number 14 recording a 2.4 percent annual price change in the same period.
The report notes that economic growth drove demand and investment in Nairobi.
Despite cooling price growth in the second half of 2011, the world’s prime markets continue to outperform their mainstream housing markets, providing some justification for their safe-haven reputations, writes Everett-Allen.
Pam Golding Properties (PGP) says buyers are increasing finding value in Cape Town properties as seen in the number of properties sold in the past year.
Laurie Wener, managing director for the PGP Western Cape metro region says there has been an increase of 6.5 percent year-on-year of properties that were sold ranging between R6 million and R12 million, with many buyers paying cash for these properties.
Wener says a lot of buyers purchased houses and apartments priced between R1 million and R3 million.
She says in Cape Town, City Bowl is a potential growth area with very little stock available to sustain demand while the Western Seaboard and West Coast have a wide variety of extremely competitively-priced properties on offer currently.
Seeff Properties reports a surge in buyer interest in Hout Bay with local buyers snapping up upmarket homes in the suburb.
Seeff southern region manager, Celine Gamley says property prices are reasonable hence the increased buyer appetite.
Buyers are also purchasing properties for commercial use, especially studio-type properties as these offer good value and convenience compared to the city.
Small apartments are priced from R750 000 and family homes from around R1.3 million.
Well priced architectural homes are sought-after and buyers find that these luxury homes offer great value, says Gamley. – Denise Mhlanga
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