In the last three months almost every estate agency in Durbanville has experienced a remarkable upswing in buyer interest and sales.
This is according to Louis Schoeman, Rawson Property Group franchisee for the area, which has around 25 000 homes altogether.
He says recently the Rawson franchise has seen an increase of almost 100 percent in sales, from around R4 million per month to R8 million or more and he sees no signs of this upswing slowing down.
This year, he says, they have been getting anything from 30 to 40 couples visiting their show houses, many of whom may become potential clients down the line.
The demand, Schoeman says, is strongest in the R1 million to R2.5 million brackets but for every ten buyers there has also been one in the R2.5 million to R4 million brackets.
Even the ultra-expensive, luxurious homes priced up to R25 million have been attracting interest and in recent months, Schoeman has sold two homes priced above R4 million.
“In all the price categories we find that most of the buyers are actually from Durbanville. They are either upgrading or downscaling but the one thing they have in common is that they do not want to leave the area.” He says the plain truth is that once people have lived in Durbanville for a few months they are always reluctant to leave.
The sort of well-built, three or four bedroom home that they sell in Durbanville for R3 million would usually carry a price tag of anything from R5 million to R8 million in Rondebosch, Tokai or Constantia, he says.
“Our prices make Durbanville attractive, especially to mobile young people and those who are now downscaling. The good news is that, although demand has intensified in the recent months, our prices are still pitched at the low levels which have prevailed ever since 2008.”
Schoeman says it seems likely that this will change but he does not see price increases exceeding five or six percent in 2013.
Raising bond finance in Durbanville, he says, has not been the big problem it is elsewhere because most local buyers are moderately affluent and can usually manage substantial deposits. What is more, applicants for bonds priced below R1.5 million are being treated sympathetically by the banks and quite often are given a 100 percent bond.
On the rental front, he says, there is only one problem - the lack of new development. This has caused a dire shortage of stock and, as rezoning applications often encounter difficulties, this situation is bound to continue.
“Every rented property in the middle and lower price categories which we advertise is taken up within one week and the rents are almost double those of five years ago. Even the smallest townhouse or apartment will command a rent of R4 000 plus per month and a typical three or four bedroom home could easily cost the tenant R13 000 to R15 000 per month.”
Durbanville is now a thriving modern town but it has somehow retained its attractive country village atmosphere, he says. The area still has a strong rural flavour and the average resident with transport can be on walking, mountain bike or riding trails amongst vineyards, orchards and farmlands within a five or ten minute car ride journey from his home, he says.
Schoeman adds that there are also no less than seven major wine estates on their urban boundary, many with top level restaurants. Then, to cap it all, he says, they have good schools, medical facilities, a low crime rate and attractive retail venues.
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