The West Coast property market enjoyed some of the best activity in the last three years with record prices of R5 million to R8 million-plus paid, driven by a combination of factors arising from the Covid Pandemic according to Pierre Germishuys, manager director for Seeff West Coast.
It is almost counter intuitive as coastal villages are often the first to suffer during an economic downturn given the high prevalence of second homes. Villages such as Yzerfrontein, Langebaan, Paternoster, Saldanha, Vredenburg, St Helena Bay, Elands Bay and Lamberts Bay all report some of the best activity compared to the last three years.
Although, as the case has been elsewhere, the market has been driven strongly by the low interest rate, the Work From Home (WFH) trend which has emerged with the pandemic has been an added boost for many areas.
Buy-to-let investors are also still drawn to the area with some of the villages reporting strong local holiday bookings with people streaming to areas such as Langebaan and Paternoster over weekends to get away from having to spend so much time in their homes in the city.
According to Lightstone data, some 2,374 transfers worth just over R2,5 billion have been recorded for these villages for the twelve months to end of July. The highest volume of sales has been in Langebaan with 658 transfers to the value of just over R1 billion. Median prices have doubled over the last ten years for most of the villages and are up by 110% for Langebaan and almost 150% for Paternoster and St Helena Bay.
Germishuys says the close proximity to Cape Town and the international airport are a big advantage for the property market with not just weekenders and holiday makers heading here, but it has become a sought-after area for second homes to escape to during lockdowns. Villages such as Langebaan and Paternoster are reporting a steady rise in permanent residents driven by older buyers retiring as well as young professionals and even families relocating here given the access to goods schools and wholesome environment in which to raise children.
Although there is a level of commercialisation, the area remains fairly unspoilt with many tourist attractions including one of the Natural Wonders of the World, the West Coast flower carpet. It blooms annually from July to September along the R27 West Coast Road, from Darling to Langebaan and right up to Piketberg and Vanrhynsdorp.
Marina Enslin, an achiever agent from Seeff Paternoster says houses and vacant plots are currently selling across all price bands including more expensive sea-facing properties. She recently sold two houses above R8 million as well as a vacant plot for R5 million, the highest price achieved for a plot in the village.
The plot was purchased by a buyer from Johannesburg who is planning to build their dream holiday home. Although still primarily a holiday village, there are now buyers who are able to work from home looking to move here permanently. She says the fantastic coastal climate and lifestyle is a big drawcard and the village is also close to Vredenburg and Cape Town.
There is also still demand from buy-to-let investors who see the potential of the area and realise that it is only a matter of time before tourism will be back in full swing. In the meantime, there are loads of local visitors who stream to Paternoster over the weekends. Buyers are coming from everywhere not just Cape Town, but from inland areas such as Gauteng, Northwest and Limpopo. Some buyers are purchasing a business as well as a house so that they can relocate to the area.
From an average selling price point of view, Yzerfontein, Langebaan and Paternoster are the most expensive with a freehold price of around R2,1m to R2,4 million but ranging to well into the upper millions for a top end home. The most affordable is Saldanha, Vredenburg and St Helena, Elands and Lamberts Bays with an average price of around R1,2 million.
There is still plenty of stock on the market for residential and investment buyers, ranging from affordable apartments around the R700 000 market to houses in the R1,8 million to R18 million range, farms and commercial property, says Germishuys. Mariska Le Roux, a rental agent with Seeff Langebaan says the rental market remains active and despite it being a holiday town, vacancies have dropped.
Sectional titles in the R8 000 to R15 000 range tend to let out quicker, but there is strong demand for larger properties in the R12 000 to R25 000 range for three to four bedrooms.