What the West Coast has to offer

27 Jan 2010

Property prices on the West Coast vary from R250k for a vacant piece of land to R9,5m for a developed beachfront property in Britannia Bay or Shelley Point.

So says Rene Brandt, franchisee of RE/MAX Sunset Coast, situated in St Helena Bay on the Cape West Coast, who adds that "there are some good deals when it comes to vacant land as investor buyers feel the current pinch and want to alleviate their bond liabilities".

"Vacant land sales vary from around R160k in distressed situations up to R2m or more for beachfront plots," she says.

According to Justus Brandt, RE/MAX co-franchisee, maximum property value growth in this area for full title properties fluctuates, but overall shows a positive appreciation of around 66,67% over the four-year period between 2003/4 and 2007/8.

"While full-title properties have seen a decline in value growth to 37,05% for the 2008/9 period, we are positive about the area's future when it comes to sustained property growth."

The Brandts also expect that the possible oil and gas exploration off the West Coast and the servicing of oil rigs will mean workers will choose to reside close by in the Paternoster/Britannia Bay/Shelley Point/St Helena Bay areas. "With the envisaged economic recovery, I'm also expecting an influx of new investment and holiday home purchasers. Large pieces of land will be developed into residential erven, mostly with beautiful sea views."

Turning to specific West Coast areas, Jaco Coetzee, Seeff's sales associate for Langebaan, says this town has seen a bevy of cash sales in the secondary market. "Sales have been rising steadily for quite some time. Another positive factor is the rental market, which has seen strong growth due to people buying in Langebaan and commuting to the surrounding towns to work. The mines are also big employers in the area and this is boosting demand for rental accommodation."

He says the demand for houses between R900k and R1,5m is certainly growing and this is spurred by lots of local buyers such as Capetonians and farmers from the Boland.

"But we're also expecting growing interest from buyers hailing from other provinces. Right now, properties that are reasonably priced will not stay on the market for longer than a month."

He adds that beachfront properties in Langebaan can be quite expensive in certain areas, even reaching prices of around R8m. "The most expensive property currently on the market in Langebaan is a seven-bedroom house priced at R16,8m.

Interestingly, Coetzee says kite surfing in the lagoon is a big factor in the improvement of the Langebaan market. "The people who kite surf are affluent and want a place where they can regularly practice their hobby. They also bring their friends along and this has had a very positive effect on the residential market."

Hennie Orffer, Pam Golding Properties' agent for Langebaan and Saldahna, says the residential market in Langebaan is very busy with properties under R2m selling briskly. "But the market over R2m has definitely improved since mid-December. It's mostly farmers and then also young, upwardly mobile people with superb qualifications buying here. They are purchasing second properties to escape to over weekends."

"The market in surrounding towns is still very quiet and the sales mostly consist of houses in more established areas."

Justus says there are a variety of projects underway along the West Coast which will also undoubtedly add further value to the property investment offering.

"We have a Mauritian consortium which has bought the Shelley Point Golf Club, Spa and Hotel and is in the process of upgrading it along with the course, which is to be enlarged to 18-holes. In addition, there is a new West Coast shopping mall located in Vredenburg, about 30km away. This shopping facility opened up in March this year offering well-known brands like Woolworths, Checkers, Game, Edgars, Clicks, CNA, Wimpy and Spur," says Justus.

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