The average Western Cape property trend watcher would not think of Malmesbury as a hot spot for investment.
This four bedroom, two bathroom home is for sale in Dassenberg, Malmesbury. It is priced at R1.820 million - click here to view.
Malmesbury did, however, undergo a remarkable boom from 2002 to 2009, when property countrywide appreciated so fast.
This is according to Schalk Liebenberg of Rawson Properties who says in this area, the growth in value was even more impressive than that in most of South Africa.
Liebenberg says since the nationwide downturn in property sales experienced over the last three years, the homes hardest hit have been those at the upper end of the price scale.
In Malmesbury this tends to mean those houses priced from R2 million upwards - these are in and around the town, where many gracious Victorian style homes, which exude character and charm can, in today’s market, be bought at very good prices.
This home has three bedrooms, a double garage and well-maintained garden. The home is selling for R1.8 million - click here to view.
Liebenberg says the franchise covers a wide area and sales have been kept reasonably buoyant by ongoing demand in the less expensive areas, including in what were formerly informal settlements such as Lingulethu and Saamstaan.
He says it is possible to get a two or three bedroom home for R400 000 to R600 000 in Chatsworth and the price could well be as low as R300 000, with erven selling for as little as R50 000 to R150 000.
The traditional Malmesbury residential area homes are now priced from R1 million to R2 million and areas such as Panorama and the relatively new Tafelsig have seen fairly satisfactory turnovers despite the downturn, he says.
Liebenberg was formerly involved with a 15 unit Tafelsig development, Merino Hills, where plot and plan houses priced from R600 000 to R1.2 million sold out in 12 months.
This large four bedroom house is located in a secure area. It has a private entertainment area and is on the market for R1.312 million - click here to view.
He explains that on average, since the downturn, Malmesbury homes have sold at 20% to 40% less than they did prior to the 2009 dip.
Plots, sometimes repossessed by banks, have dropped even more, he says.
“In Malmesbury itself, plots valued at R600 000 have been selling for R150 000 and today there are many similar such plots available at equally good prices.”
Malmesbury has always been seen as the ‘capital’ of the Swartland and the focal point for the local wheat, wine and dairy farming activities, says Liebenberg.
With 51 210 residents, it is far bigger than many people realise.
This three bedroom house in Westbank, Malmesbury is on the market for R750 000 - click here to view.
He says the majority of Rawson Properties’ more recent buyers, are commuters travelling daily to Cape Town, Bellville, Paarl and even the Helderberg Basin.
The 65km trip on the N7 to the city is relatively traffic-free and avoids the traffic congestion experienced in Table View and Milnerton, he says. Out of traffic hours, the trip can be completed in less than 40 minutes.
According to Liebenberg, the entire area is solidly Afrikaans-speaking and still has a settled and conservative atmosphere with large church congregations, good schools, excellent sports teams, a genuine community spirit and a very low crime rate.
The municipality, he says, is one of the few in South Africa today that local residents can respect and rate highly. The police force is always efficient and follows up on complaints quickly.
This home has three bedrooms and one bathroom and is selling for R600 000 - click here to view.
All this, he says, along with the ‘openness’ and country atmosphere of the town makes it especially attractive to Afrikaners who want to see their children raised in a friendly but disciplined environment - and they are able to enjoy South Africa’s traditional pastimes rather than those fostered by the urban areas.
In the current conditions, explains Liebenberg, there is no shortage of stock and they currently has over 200 homes listed for sale.
Among the current bargains in the upper bracket, Liebenberg pointed to a four bedroom, single storey home in Panorama, Malmesbury priced at R1.968 million.
He says formerly, this home would probably have sold for at least R2.5 million.
It has living and family rooms, an open plan kitchen with an extractor fan, stove and oven, two garages and a swimming pool. It is also fully air-conditioned.
Equally attractive and sited in the Panorama area is a similar home priced at R1.9 million. This home has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, two living/dining areas, a family room, a study and a braai facility. Its garden is in excellent condition and it has large mature trees.
These two homes, says Liebenberg, are typical of the many modern attractive homes that central Malmesbury can offer.
He says typical of those in the lower price range is a good value home in Wesbank with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, air-conditioning, a garage and a built-in braai.
This home has a listed price of R699 000, again a price that in the greater Cape Town area would be inconceivable for a home of this quality.
Liebenberg’s says buyers unfamiliar with the area are certain to be very surprised by how charming and attractive Malmesbury can be and by the good value of today’s properties.