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14 Feb 2013

Ever since I began tracking gift trends and ideas for Valentine's Day, I am yet to come across a person who has been given a home as a gift.

Described as an oasis of discretion, a two bedroom apartment is located on the canal close to the One & Only at the V& A Waterfront, Cape Town and is selling for R7.495 million through Pam Golding Properties.

I have been told it is quite possible to get such a present, some say if money was not an object they would buy a home as a gift while some have stipulated that it depends on the price of the property.

Others, however, reckon if one were to splash that big, they would buy listed property shares with companies such as Growthpoint Properties and Redefine Properties, the largest two funds by market capitalisation.

STANLIB head of listed property funds, Keillen Ndlovu, has given his top five stocks to watch out for in 2013, perhaps a good idea is to ditch Swiss chocolates and rather buy into one of these stocks.

Read more here.

Now, there you have, it would seem to me right now that while your average person with an average salary cannot give you a property gift on this day, one day they will be able to afford to buy you one or you can buy jointly if qualifying for a home loan is an issue as we know bankers can be stingy.

Last year, estate agents provided information on some homes that if money were not an object (that word again), we could all buy them.

Read the article here.

When all fails in getting a home as a present, why not consider buying one yourself, even if it means waiting longer?

12 Valle Verde in Bedfordview Gauteng is selling for R2.9 million through Leapfrog.

After all, there are 10 reasons why you should buy property and provided you can afford the costs, you could very well be among the many people who own their own properties or are starting to create their own wealth through bricks and mortar.

Although it has not been proven that wealthy individuals buy properties as love tokens, research shows that these individuals buy wine properties valued at as much as or more than US$80 000 per hectare in the Western Cape, according to WealthInsight, a firm which provides detailed data and insightful analysis on the world’s High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) and wealth sector.

According to the report, SA's rich investors’ property assets include owning farms in the area which generally feature Dutch-style houses.

The most exclusive of these estates is located in Stellenbosch, Constantia and Franschhoek and many of these individuals own luxury homes in Johannesburg’s wealthy suburbs.

These individuals also buy collectables which include luxury watches, private jets, yachts, helicopters and private game reserves.

Private game reserves in particular have become a popular investment for HNWIs, reveals WealthInsight.

Romantic home buys

Perhaps you don’t have to be a HNWI (although that would be nice) but you can buy a luxury home at Kranspoort Vakansiedorp, a wildlife and golf estate situated between Middelburg and Groblersdal in the pristine bushveld of Mpumalanga close to Loskop Dam, about two hours drive from Pretoria.

According to Seeff Properties, this estate is a bird lovers’ paradise where game roams freely, including giraffe, zebras, blue wildebeest, impala, kudu and duikers.

According to the research, 21 percent of South African HNWIs have second homes abroad as of year-end 2011 and a large proportion of the HNWIs with homes abroad are individuals who emigrated during the 1990s but have since returned.

Willemien Badenhorst of Seeff Middelburg says Kranspoort is a really special place to live, or to have a holiday home.

Plots are priced from R270 000 to R475 000 while homes range from R750 000 to R2.1 million.

In Johannesburg, Leapfrog reports that there are good buys to be found in Bezuidenhout Valley and this area is popular among investors or those buying their first homes.

Greenstone Hill is also reportedly popular among young couples and middle-income earners.

For those looking for homes in the high-end of the market, look no further than Bedfordview, an upmarket suburb with homes priced up to R30 million.

The Western Cape offers some of those to-die-for homes and according to Basil Moraitis, Pam Golding Properties area manager on the Atlantic Seaboard, apartments are sought after in the area as many couples find them a perfect getaway for the weekend or holidays.

He points to one property (currently on the market), located close to the One & Only at the V&A Waterfront as a must-buy home.

Described as an oasis of discretion, the apartment is located on the canal with two double bedrooms leading to a spacious patio facing the canal, and is selling for R7.495 million.

Cottages are also back in vogue with magical charm in Green Point and Three Anchor Bay and they sell fast, says Jean Bell, Knight Frank Anne Porter area agent. 

Green Point and Three Anchor Bay’s closeness to the CBD, the stadium, the urban park and golf course, in addition to the general improvement of the area, have made this area a good place in which to live.

“There is a cosmopolitan vibe and an abundance of activity on your doorstep.” 

This French style cottage in Harfield Village, Claremont is a permanent romantic home, featuring a Victorian bathroom that was inspired by the movie, Great Expectations, and opens into an enchanted garden - it is available through Seeff.

The average selling price of cottages is between R2.75 million and R3.75 million, usually to young professionals, first-time buyers and older couples downscaling.

“The charm that older cottages offer in these areas cannot be matched by the newer, more contemporary buildings,” she says.

She notes that many cottages need some TLC and buyers prefer this type of property as they can personalise the home to suit their taste.

The agency is selling a four bedroom, four bathroom double storey home in the T’Groenehof area of Green Point. 

It has been partially renovated with many of its original features still intact, including a stained glass window, two fireplaces and wooden floors.

Seeff Southern Suburbs agents, Deidre Tracey and Teodora Aleksieva, say convenience and quaint homes make Claremont’s Harfield Village a popular option with buyers.

They say one can buy semi-detached cottages that hark back to the previous century and larger homes built in early 1900s, which live alongside modern apartments and townhouses.

The area was settled in the early 1800s, mostly by British settlers and road names such as Stafford, Sussex, Hamstead, York, Norfolk, and Lancaster reminds us of this.

It is a special area that comprises an eclectic mix of inhabitants who are passionate about their neighbourhood with the Harfield Village Carnival an eagerly awaited annual social event, say the agents.

The area comprises just over 1 000 houses and more than 200 sectional title units that include apartments and townhouses.

This four bedroom home in the T’Groenehof area of Green Point is selling for R3.95 million through Knight Frank Anne Porter Atlantic Seaboard.

Apartments sell for between R550 000 and R910 000 for a modern two bedroom apartment with an average price of around R900 000, up by 14 percent since 2007.

Modern two bedroom townhouses are priced from R1.195 million to R1.35 million for a three bedroom unit.

Freehold homes are selling for an average price of R1.33 million, about 10 percent higher than in 2007 while a quaint semi-detached cottage now costs around R1.495 million and a top-end home is on offer for R3.495 million.

This particular home was the original farmhouse and has been meticulously renovated by the owner, yet retains the original character of the area.

The original home was dark and cramped and now the interiors have been opened up adding sky lights for added light and introducing a distinct French flavour into the interiors.

It has three bedrooms -  the main with an original fireplace, closet and a vintage Victorian bathroom inspired by the movie ‘Great Expectations’ with Perspex sheeting as the roof to allow plenty of light in and opening into the enchanted garden.

There is also an original fireplace in the open-plan lounge and dining area. The French country-style kitchen has an adjacent dining area that looks out into the garden.

There is a decked entertainment area in the garden as well as a salt-water pool.

Global luxury second home locations

According to the research, 21 percent of South African HNWIs have second homes abroad as of year-end 2011 and a large proportion of the HNWIs with homes abroad are individuals who emigrated during the 1990s but have since returned.

Although it has not be proven that wealthy individuals buy properties as love tokens, research shows that these individuals buy wine properties valued as much as more than US$80 000 per hectare in the Western Cape, according to WealthInsight, a firm which provides detailed data and insightful analysis on the world’s High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) and wealth sector.

Andrew Amoils, WealthInsight senior analyst and head of reports team, says they did research on luxury second homes and found that HNWIs have second homes in the US.

The Hamptons (in Long island) is the largest second home location in the US with other major destinations including Monterey, Santa Barbara, Palm Beach and Aspen.

According to the Wall Street Journal, of the top 10 HNWIs second home locations by price performance between 2007 and 2011, Aspen was the top performing location with prices falling by only 6 percent, followed by Palm Beach and Gasparilla Island in the top three locations.

In France, Amoils says according to a case study on non-resident real estate investment in the French Riviera, there were an estimated 220 000 non-residents with homes in France in 2011.

France is a major investment destination for foreign real estate investors with investment concentrated on the French Riviera (Azure Coast), which accounts for over 130 000 of non-resident real estate investors.

Characteristics of the French Riviera include the fact that it covers 560 miles from Toulon to Menton, includes 71 miles of beaches, 18 golf courses, 14 ski resorts and over 3 000 restaurants, includes the principality of Monaco, which is located between Menton and Nice, and annually, the Riviera hosts over 50 percent of the world's superyacht fleet.

Major 10 cities on the French Riviera ranked according to population from high to low include Nice (346 000), Toulon (170 000), Antibes (77 000), Cannes (73 000), Hyeres (56 000), Frejus (52 000), Sainte Raphael (34 000), Menton (29 000), Sainte Maxime (13 500) and Saint Tropez (5 900).

He notes that over the past decade, Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Spain have been popular among high value property investors due to their lower costs.

This timber house with three bedrooms and three bathrooms offers an ideal opportunity for wildlife lovers seeking a weekend getaway or permanent home. It is on the market for R750 000 through Seeff Middelburg.

“As a result of the global financial crisis and Eurozone crisis, however, property prices in these markets have lost significant value, while the French real estate market has performed relatively well.”

Over 23 percent of all the second homes in France are owned by non-residents, a high 29 percent of these homes are owned by people from the UK, followed by buyers from Italy (14 percent), Switzerland (12 percent) and Germany (11 percent).

Amoils explains that UK HNWI investments into Spain declined significantly between 2007 and 2011 while investment into France has been steadier.

“This reflects the relatively strong performance of the French property market over the review period compared with other countries.”

French regulators are generally supportive of foreign investors making investments in residential real estate and allow non-residents to earn rental income from their properties.

These individuals are, however, liable to pay income tax, wealth tax and capital gains taxes on these investments, he explains.

He says growth in the number of foreign buyers was particularly high in 2010, as 33 000 new foreign residents bought properties in France, spending an average of US$286 000.

Over 9 200 of these properties were bought in the French Riviera at an average price of US$425 000.

If it’s unlikely at this stage to score a home as a Valentine’s gift, remember to take control of your money, by starting small, you will eventually get to a point where you are able to buy your own listed property shares, a home or even be the next HNWI. – Denise Mhlanga

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