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Agents report that many people are abandoning big cities to raise their children in resort towns

More and more families are moving to holiday towns to escape the stressful hustle and bustle of city life. Some of the more popular towns for permanent residents, many of whom are middle-aged buyers with school-aged children, include Hermanus, Plettenberg Bay and Langebaan.

“It comes as no surprise that people are moving to the coastal towns for a better quality life,” says Seeff Property Group chairman Samuel Seeff. “And it is not just older people who are flocking to the coast, but younger buyers, especially families.”
These buyers are looking for wholesome lifestyles and especially want to escape crime, poor service delivery, stress, and traffic congestion. “Most of the coastal towns have excellent infrastructure, and many are close to bigger centres, making them excellent commuter towns.
And some, like Hermanus and Langebaan, now have Curro private schools in addition to the existing state schools.” Garden Route towns such as George are also popular, Seeff says. Hermanus has long been regarded as one of South Africa’s favourite coastal holiday destinations, offering the perfect combination of beaches, mountains, wildlife, accommodation, eateries, activities and festivals.
Recently, however, says Cindy Rowe, sales partner at Rawson Properties Hermanus, a different side of the town has been capturing visitors’ attention – namely the exceptional opportunities it offers as a place to raise a family.
“It’s been interesting to see the changes taking place in Hermanus over the past few years. We’ve been seeing a noticeable increase in the percentage of permanent residents – particularly when it comes to families. It’s as if parents are realising that the kind of lifestyle our little town offers doesn’t have to end when their kids go back to school after the holidays.”
Hermanus boasts a wealth of worldclass educational facilities, including Bosko, Curro, Generations, Northcliff House, Waldorf, Camphill and Hermanus primary and high schools. 
“Equally important, however, is its range of other vital amenities, including a Mediclinic hospital, a sizeable new mall, and a variety of grocery, hardware and lifestyle stores.” 
There has also been a definite increase in people moving to Plettenberg Bay to live permanently, says Steve Neufeld, manager principal for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the area. Although there are no reliable statistics as to who the buyers are, Neufeld says experience shows the most common demographic to be middle-aged couples with young children.
“A great private school opened a new campus in Plett called Greenwood Bay College. There is limited space, but the school is expanding. A fair number of pupils also commute to Oakhill private school in Knysna.” The area’s local schools, as well as those in nearby cities like George (Outeniqua) and Port Elizabeth (Grey and Collegiate), are also popular. 
“Regarding jobs, many people are working remotely online, and some commute to cities during the week and leave their families in the relative safety of Plett,” Neufeld says. The number of permanent residents in Langebaan has risen by about 40% over the past few years, says Jaco Coetzee, an agent with Seeff Langebaan.
“Langebaan is an excellent base for those looking to relocate to the West Coast, from older buyers looking to slow down, to younger, family buyers looking for a wholesome lifestyle.” Kleinmond is another small town becoming popular as a permanent place to live, says Nicola Lloyd, Pam Golding Properties agent for Pringle Bay. Semigration to the Cape Metro may have slowed, but many buyers from Gauteng and other parts of the country are buying in the more accessible coastal areas – either for homes or as longer-term retirement options.

Prices in holiday villages
◆Northcliff: Three-bedroom, two-bathroom properties with double garages start at R2.2 million. Properties are spacious on plots of 450m2 to 500m2.
◆Voëlklip: Older three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes start at around R2.5m, but some of the prime beachfront properties break the R20m mark.
◆Sandbaai: You can find two-bedroom homes here for as little as R1.6m.
Source: Rawson Properties Hermanus
Plettenberg Bay
◆The entry level for flats is R800 000. 
◆One can buy a three-bedroom apartment in central Plettenberg Bay for R1.5m to R2m.
◆Vacant land starts at about R275 000.
◆Entry level for houses is around R1.8m, though there are cheaper options in areas surrounding Plett. You can buy a three-bedroom family home not too far from the beach for around R3m.
Source: Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Plettenberg Bay.
◆Apartment prices start at R660 000, townhouses from about R950 000 and houses from around R1.5m.
◆Luxury houses range from R2.8m to R6.8m on average to a top price of around R17m.
Source: Seeff Langebaan
Cut expenses: Keep paying mortgage
Making ends meet may be tough at the moment, but one of the worst things homeowners can do is to fall behind on their bond repayments. Another is getting into debt by buying everyday items on credit, says Adrian Goslett, regional director and chief executive of Re/Max of Southern Africa. Goslett advises homeowners to cut back in the following ways: 
Set up a grocery budget: Homeowners should “ditch takeaways” and buy ingredients in bulk instead. If you’re short of time during the week, prepare and freeze your meals over the weekend, Goslett says. “Setting a strict grocery budget can also help avoid the temptation of popping unnecessary items into your trolley.”
Reduce your electricity bill: You can significantly lower your bill by turning off your geyser during the day and unplugging appliances when not used. “Filling your fridge and freezer to recommended capacity, installing energy saving bulbs and dimmers, and washing laundry in cold water save electricity.”
Reduce your cleaning supplies: All you need is bleach, vinegar, lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda or baking powder, and vanilla or rosemary essence for a fresh scent, Goslett says. 
Cut fuel costs: Find shopping centres en route to work and spend the weekend at home so you aren’t tempted to go out and spend.”

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