21 Jun 2012
Coastal properties, especially those in holiday areas were often the worst hit by the late 2008 to 2010 downturn – and Langebaan on the Cape West Coast, although only an hour’s drive from Cape Town, suffered like most South African coastal areas.
He says while it is true that in the downturn home prices throughout the Langebaan precinct dropped by 30% - or in some cases even more - since early this year there have been, unmistakable signs of a slow but steady recovery.
As a result, he says, Rawson Properties’ sales figures for the first five months of this year are over 50% up on those of the same period last year and, he says, other agencies are reporting similar successes.
The new life in the market, he says, is driven by the noticeable upswing in confidence among buyers, who, in turn, are often encouraged by the ongoing low interest rates – and is also due to the growth of industry in the area.
Saldanha Steel, Portnet, Transnet and Namaqua Sands are, says Weiss, still taking on new staff regularly. With the area now set to become a recognised industrial development zone, new industry will, he says, generate a steady influx of new jobs over the next two to three years.
Right now they are seeing five to ten families moving into this area each month, often renting for the first year or two. "If the IDC’s predictions are accurate as I believe they are, this figure could be trebled or quadrupled by the end of next year.”
The current prices, says Weiss, do make many properties highly attractive right now and this applies in all price ranges.
“We can offer homes at anything from R700 000 to R5 million."
The big demand, he says is in the R1 million to R1. 2 million and in the R700 000 to R1 million brackets and at least 80% of their sales take place in these price ranges.
Particularly good value, says Weiss, are the numerous vacant stands on offer. A surge in West Coast property during the property boom, which took place from 2004 to 2008, he says, resulted in hundreds of erven being sold in and around Langebaan. However, since the onset of the recession buyers have often been desperate to offload these investments, in some cases offering them at prices that are half what was originally paid.
Weiss says this means that buyers can get a ± 800m2 stand not that far from the centre of the village for as little as R125 000 and a few beachfront plots, which were formerly almost unobtainable, and if sold, reached prices of R2.5 million to R5 million, can now sometimes be had for just over R 1.3 million.
He says the rental market at Langebaan has throughout the difficult period flourished. His rental team can almost always find a tenant for any low and middle ranked property within one week of being mandated.
Asked if and when he sees Langebaan prices actually beginning to escalate appreciably, Weiss says a truthful answer would be that it will probably take another year for that to happen.
“What we are witnessing right now is a stabilising period in which prices of homes are holding steady instead of falling as they did previously.
"By early next year signs of price rises will, I predict, again be evident and towards the end of the year could exceed inflation"
He says realistic investors who accept that property investment should be given seven to ten years to mature are already buying now and it seems likely that in time to come they will be "envied for having secured such excellent bargain prices".
Langebaan’s very obvious attractions – the lagoon, the beach, boats, fishing and golf – are, adds Weiss enhanced for many by an exceptionally low crime rate.
He says as many as six out of ten buyers contacting them in search of new homes in this area plan to move there because, in addition to the lifestyle, it also offers a higher degree of security than almost any other South African town or village of any size.
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