Saturday, December 15

Keep an open mind when house hunting

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Buyers are drawn to the central city, but areas further afield can offer good value

Capetonians wanting to buy their own homes will undoubtedly bear the city’s traffic congestion in mind. 

But if these buyers broaden their searches to include some of the city’s lesser-considered suburbs and are open to working and schooling their children closer to home, they may not only be able to diminish the stress of daily commutes, but find more value for their money, say the experts.

Buyers are often set on living in particular suburbs, but may not have the budget for the area, says Nancy Todd, franchisee of Rawson Properties Constantia.

Neighbouring suburbs may offer “the perfect property” a stone’s throw away. “For example, (properties in) Plumstead, Bergvliet and Meadowridge are cheaper and offer bigger gardens than those in Claremont, Lynfrae and Newlands.” However, Capetonians can be “very parochial”, and people often have set ideas about where to live.

They are also concerned about resale values, which are usually higher closer to central Cape Town, she says.

Those who consider the advantages of neighbourhood over address while remaining value-conscious could find great rewards in other areas.

The Strand and Gordon’s Bay, for example, offer the beauty of the ocean and the scenery of the Helderberg Mountains at a “fraction of the cost” one would pay on the Atlantic Seaboard, and even in Blouberg, says Louelle Lubbe, Seeff director in this area.

“At the same time, you can commute to surrounding areas, including the city and Winelands towns such as Somerset West and Stellenbosch for work.”

Both these areas offer excellent infrastructure, great schools, facilities and amenities to augment the laid-back coastal lifestyle.

“There is something to suit every buyer need and budget, from starter homes for first-time buyers to spacious family homes with easy access to schools, retirement apartments, beach apartments and golf estate homes.”

These areas also have busy rental markets, so there is opportunity for investment too, Lubbe says. 

For buyers open to living away from the city and surrounding suburbs, Betty’s Bay and Rooi Els offer affordable seaside living comparable with other areas along the Whale Coast, says Pam Golding Properties area manager Mike Bisset.

“Betty’s Bay stretches for 11km, offering a mix of beachfront, lakeside and mountain properties. Only a half hour’s drive from Somerset West, it is possible to live in this coastal town – with all its benefits of seaside living – and commute to work in the Strand, Somerset West, or even Cape Town.”

Rooi Els also offers “considerable value for money”, Bisset says. 

Buyers who consider Paarl can choose between living in secure estates or close to town, says Surina du Toit, Pam Golding Properties area manager for Paarl, Wellington and Franschhoek.

“Paarl town, with restaurants under oaks and school children walking everywhere, is abuzz with activity. Nearby Wellington also offers excellent value for money. The area is close to the northern suburbs, and the airport and Cape Town’s city centre are easily accessible via the N1.”

Sandra Gordon, Pam Golding Properties research analyst, says the northern suburbs offer “considerable value for money” and are close to excellent schools.

“These areas are a short drive away from the city centre and other growth hubs such as Somerset West, but also offer enviable lifestyles near the Winelands and other attractions.”

Durbanville is one of the city’s most central areas, offering good access to the N1, says Fanie Marais, licensee for Seeff Durbanville.

Given its location around the Tygerberg Hills, many homes enjoy fabulous views.

“Property here is an excellent investment.”

There is top-class infrastructure with excellent schools, amenities and services, sport facilities, and the Tygervalley Shopping Mall, all in addition to the Blouberg beaches.

Suburbs in the Blouberg area are among the fastest growing areas in the city with top-class schools, says Clinton Martle, Seeff Blouberg licensee. In addition to good retail and services, the area also has leisure and sporting facilities.

Houses with sea views or close to the beach are dearer, but no property in this area is far from the beach.

The village of Muizenberg is another gem for buyers, says Gary Grobbelaar, chief executive for Seeff False Bay and South Eastern Suburbs.

Properties here will suit residential buyers, rental investors, retirees and people seeking holiday homes. Closer to the city, Johan Meyer, licensee for Seeff Pinelands and Thornton, says young professionals and families can secure good quality homes with easy access to good southern suburbs schools.

According to FNB’s Property Barometer’s House Price Index for February, the “most affordable” sub-region close to the City Bowl was the near-eastern suburbs that include Woodstock, Salt River and Pinelands.

These areas have shown considerable house-price growth as buyers are faced with affordability challenges, says Gordon. 

“Still near to Cape Town’s CBD, and other economic hubs such as Claremont, these areas offer many of the same benefits as other areas in the southern suburbs and City Bowl. 

“First-time buyers especially are drawn to Observatory, Woodstock and Salt River, where it’s possible to buy a home for R1.5 million and sectional title units from R1m.” 

One “simply cannot go wrong” with the Woodstock/Observatory/ Salt River area right now, agrees Craig Algie, a Seeff agent for the area. Homes include apartments in the new mixed-use development SALT, and Victorian-styled semis and cottages. Over the past two to five years average house prices have risen 15% to 25%, and even up to 40% in some cases, Algie says.

What you can expect to pay 

Suburbs to consider: 

The Strand: 

*Apartments start at R480 000 

* Family homes range from R950 000 to R1.5 million 

Gordon’s Bay 

*Apartments start at R560 000 

* Houses start at R980 000 

* Top-end homes range from R2.8m to R18m 

* Properties in Harbour Island Estate range from R980 000 to R15m 

Betty’s Bay

* Plots range from R400 000 to R800 000 

* Houses are priced from R1.5m to R3m Rooi Els 

* Houses range from about R4m Observatory/ Woodstock/ Salt River 

* Sectional title priced from R1m 

*The average house price is about R1.5m 

* Victorian cottages go from R1.8m to R2.8m 

Durbanville 

* Sectional title townhouses priced from R1.8m to R2.8m 

Blouberg 

*Sectional title properties range from R1.8m to R3.8m 

Muizenberg 

* Homes in and around the village go from R1.8m to R2.8m 

* Capricorn Beach Estate offers sectional title from R950 000 to R2.8m 

*Properties on the water at Marina da Gama range from R1.2m to R3.2m 

Pinelands/ Thornton 

* Family homes with pools and gardens go from R2.8m to R3.8m 

* Large four-bedroom homes from R4.3m to R4.8m 

Wellington 

* Houses priced between R1.2m and R1.5m are in high demand 

*Properties in luxury estates sell from R5m 

* Apartments range from R600 000 to R850 000. Paarl 

* Average house prices are R1.8m to R1.9m 

* Average apartment R650 000

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