WORDS: TRACY ANN VAN BLERK & MIRIAM MANNAK IMAGES: SUPPLIED & SHUTTERSTOCK
South Africa is renowned for its magnificent 3,000km stretch of coastline offering a wide range of places to live. From spectacular clifftop homes and quaint beachfront towns to secure coastal estates, lock-up-and-go holiday homes and trendy apartments – it’s good news indeed that this is the time to buy.
On the Atlantic Seaboard – arguably SA’s most expensive area – recent FNB statistics show the growth rate in home prices has fallen from 25.5% in the first quarter of 2016 to 5.1% in the first quarter of this year. “Even luxury estates such as Zimbali on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast has experienced this trend, with asking prices of certain properties decreasing from R16,9m to R13m and from R15,9m to R12m,” says Rory O’Hagan, head: luxury portfolio division, Chas Everitt International.
Amid one of the best buyers’ markets in decades, South Africa presents a great opportunity for local and foreign property investors to get a foot in the door at some of the country’s most desirable coastal locations. Low interest rates and keen competition between banks to grant mortgage loans are two additional factors fuelling the current market conditions.
Cape Town Atlantic Seaboard & CBD
Proximity to the city and Cape Town’s natural beauty is the winning combination of this sought-after area.
“Local buyers who want to downsize, foreign investors, semigraters and short-term buy-to-let investors are all part of our buyer pool on the Atlantic Seaboard – from the V&A Waterfront and Sea Point, to Bakoven and Camps Bay,” says Richard Hardie, Knight Frank Real Estate. “This extends from apartments to freestanding homes.”
Rob Stefanutto, Dogon Group director and head of developments, concurs. The secret to success, according to him, is creating a product offering to fit all consumers’ needs, ranging in price from R899,000 to R30m. Moreover, partnering with well-respected development groups that can deliver high-quality properties, is crucial.
“Lock-up-and-go convenience with a twist,” is how Horizon Capital Residential MD David Sedgwick describes the The Aster in the City Bowl’s Oranjezicht. “These apartments are ideally suited for owners looking to downscale, with the benefit of a spacious outdoor area for easy entertaining and access to the beaches of Camps Bay, Bakoven and Clifton,” he says.
Cape Town Western Seaboard
With its white beaches, post-card-pretty views of Table Mountain, excellent schools, restaurants, shopping centres and easy public transport to and from the city, the Western Seaboard is a popular choice for property investors. The value proposition is also much more attractive to buyers who are unable to afford the prices characteristic of the Atlantic Seaboard.
Manhattan on Coral, a New York-style apartment block in the Blouberg area, offers a selection of bachelor, one- and two-bedroom units, CleverProp.com CEO Schalk Pienaar says. “The design is distinctly edgy and based on typical industrial warehouse conversions. The open-plan apartments feature segments of exposed brickwork and steel beams, as well as floor-to-ceiling industrial-style windows.”
Andrew Plunkett of The Milnerton Estates says buyers of its new Sandown development, currently being built along Sandown Road, mostly come from the surrounding environs. “They are homeowners wanting more modern architecture, with security, education facilities and convenience in mind.”
Always popular are Atlantic Beach Golf Estate and the Big Bay Waterfront. “Smaller apartments at Atlantic Beach start at R2m while cluster-style homes sell from R3m,” says Emarie Campbell, Pam Golding Properties principal for the western seaboard. “The Big Bay Waterfront offers secure estates with sweeping views over the ocean. House prices can reach up to R18,5m, with apartments starting at R1,65m.”
A variety of fynbos, a beautiful rocky coastline, and an annual show of flowers blanketing the hills and farmlands in spring are only a few of the drawcards of the West Coast.
Yzerfontein, once a sleepy little town, is now attracting a variety of property investors, says Graham Katz, Yzerfontein Property Developers, whose Ocean Villas was built to reflect contemporary West Coast architecture.
“Clients who have bought here are a combination of local and national investors who want to take advantage of the exceptional lifestyle and value offered at this exclusive gated beachfront estate,” says Katz.
Campbell agrees that Yzerfontein is growing in popularity. “This is because of its excellent schools such as Curro Langebaan, just a short bus drive away,” she says. The value-for-money element plays a role, too. “Homes in Yzerfontein are listed from R1,5m, while vacant land starts at R500,000.”
Langebaan, with its pearly white beaches on the West Coast, is a longstanding semigration hotspot. Close to the West Coast National Park, this town is all about lifestyle, leisure and water sports. The same counts for Paternoster and St Helena Bay a little bit further afield.
Laaiplek, a small enclave close to Port Owen and Velddrif, is the site of Atlantic Waves, a brand-new development by Multi Spectrum Property (MSP). The perfect entry-level option for buyers looking for a holiday home on the West Coast, it consists of 216 two- and three-bedroom homes. The development is pet-friendly and each open-plan home features an enclosed garden.
Balmy weather, an ocean warm enough to swim in, and green rolling hills epitomise this part of the country.
Coastal estates on the KwaZuluNatal North Coast have experienced unprecedented growth over the past few years. San Lameer Villa sales director Derek Thomson says buyers at this secure beachfront family leisure and golf estate are primarily affluent businessmen and -women from Gauteng looking for a piece of natural paradise. “Wealthy retirees have recently started to settle here, along with a handful of foreign investors or swallows who chose to enjoy the province for a couple of relaxing months at a time,” he says.
The Dunes Eco Estate is another attractive option in KZN. “It’s a small estate comprising of 34 grid-tied sectional title homes. There has been a mix of purchasers and tenants, with downsizing being the most common reason for buying,” says Rick Pulvirenti, Sanhall Property.
The time is now!
Natural beauty and quality of life aside, there are more pragmatic reasons for investing in coastal property. According to Lightstone’s Residential Property Index, at the end of July this year the national house price inflation index was at 3.6%, with the Western Cape continuing to buck the national trend with an annual rate of 5%. And while inland municipalities’ rates are between 1% and 4%, coastal areas generally perform above this range at about 3%. This means a seaside home is an attractive investment option, whether you are an international investor or a local resident wanting to semigrate, buy a holiday home, or retire.