03 Aug 2012
The size of the area covered by the Cape Town suburb of Durbanville is seldom appreciated by those who live elsewhere.
This is according to Louis Schoeman, Rawson Properties franchisee for the area, who says Durbanville covers at least 20 separate zones including Stellenberg, Stellenryk, Richwood, Eversdal, Durbanville Hills, Kenridge, Vygeboom, Amanda Glen, Sonstraal, Sonstraal Heights, Goedemoed, Durmonte, Vierlanden, Schoongezicht, D’urbanvale, Aurora, Vergezicht and Rosendal.
In this vast area there are no less than 23 000 homes, some 12 schools (both private and state), multi-cultural churches and a variety of retail and sporting facilities, including a horse race track, six gymnasia and a golf course.
Schoeman says Durbanville has at least five characteristic features that house hunters value - it has a warmer, drier, less windy climate than the Cape Peninsula suburbs and it has retained its pleasant, relaxed village atmosphere, despite moving into the 21st century.
Durbanville has supportive and welcoming residents with many community organisations, which are often church-related; it borders on at least seven vineyards as well as extensive farmlands; and it offers relatively quick and easy freeway access to Cape Town, Bellville, the Peninsula and the entire winelands, he says.
Durbanville, he says, remains highly attractive to potential buyers and there has been strong demand for both homes to buy and rent.
He says the area offers homes at anything from R550 000 for an apartment in Richwood to R17 million for a well-developed, small holding with an attractive home.
However, the big demand, says Schoeman, has been in the R1.3 million to R2.5 million bracket and in this price range Rawson and other agencies have pre-qualified buyers that are lining up in droves. When such homes do come on to the market, provided that they are at the market-related price, Schoeman says, they almost always sell within four to six weeks.
From an estate agent’s point of view, the current situation is not entirely satisfactory, for the simple reason that they have far too little stock.
Exactly why this has come about is difficult to understand, he says, but it is probably due to the conservative nature of the people in the area and their marked reluctance to leave.
Winter also traditionally leads to a hibernation in residential sales, before spring ushers in an increase in sales activity - this too has played a part in keeping homes off the market, he explains.
This time last year, the difficulties experienced by potential buyers in obtaining loans would have been another reason for the low sales - but this year, he says, the banks have eased up on their criteria and Rawson Finance reports that in Durbanville around 70 percent of all applications have been successful.
What is more, Schoeman says the market has a fair number of cash buyers - some able to pay high prices. Recently, for example, Rawson sold a magnificent 600 square metre, five bedroom house, on a gentleman’s estate overlooking rolling pasture land in Durbanville to a cash buyer for around R5.7 million, he says.
Throughout last year and the early parts of this year, Schoeman says they saw almost no growth in prices, but now there is on-going strong demand and the stock shortages will lead to price rises of five to seven percent in the next 12 months.
He says significantly increased returns, have already been seen in rentals and this is traditionally a prelude to house price increases.
Right now with interest rates at an all-time low, and with Durbanville houses still 10 to 20 percent below the peak prices of 2007, it makes no sense at all for potential buyers to be holding back.
In addition to all the attractions of the area already mentioned, he says, Durbanville offers more value per rand. Gardens, on average, are almost twice the size of those of Peninsula homes and floor areas roughly 40 percent bigger.
Examples on his stock list include an affordable 93 square metre home in Rosedale Estate with three bedrooms, a fully fitted kitchen with attractive wooden countertops, a fairly spacious garden and secure off-street parking for two cars. This home is priced at around R995 000.
A similar home in one of the ‘better’ Cape Town suburbs, says Schoeman, could easily be priced at over R1.5 million.
Another home on his list consists of a 276 square metre home with 108 square metre garden in Vierlanden. This home has four bedrooms, a spacious patio, a swimming pool and a double garage. It is priced at R2.195 million.
The already mentioned magnificent 600 square metre, five bedroom country home which has indoor and outdoor braais, a fully equipped gourmet kitchen, a five car garage and a swimming pool was recently sold for around R5.7 million.
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