The Garden Route and Eastern Cape region performed better than expected last year, said Tony Ketcher, regional manager for the Seeff property group’s operations across the region, saying that Seeff’s branches recorded some of the best activity in more than five years.
Lightstone data for the Eastern Cape shows that while the East London metro experienced a decline of just over 10% in overall transactions, it still generated just over R1,68bn in value; Port Elizabeth only experienced a marginal decline in overall transaction volumes, but achieved a higher overall value of over R3,676bn.
“The bulk of transactions were below R1,5m,” said Ketcher. “Both centres show a notable increase in younger buyers with the under 35-year millennial age group representing about a third of all activity for the last year.”
The agency experienced a 22% increase in sales since 2015 and expects a further 10% rise this year. Currently, the bulk of the listings are overpriced and buyers are just not seeing value.
“Well-priced properties are still selling for within a month,” said Stefaan Verlinde, licensee for Seeff Oudtshoorn. “An influx of people from other provinces is fuelling the demand across the board, from sales to rentals and there is now a shortage of rental properties. The R880,000 to R1,2m range is the most popular and for rentals, the R4,500 to R6,000 per month range.”
Seeff experienced a hike in overall sales of 8% since 2015, but a slow-down towards the end of last year was observed, especially for second holiday and retirement properties.
“The banks are very right on lending in the secondary homes market and we are seeing the demand for deposits beginning to creep up again,” said Gerrie Nieuwenhuis, Seeff’s licensee for the area. “On the whole, anything below R2m still attracts attention, but above that, we expect only selective interest. The highest demand is in the R800,000 to R1,2m range for a standard three-bedroom house. It is also mostly older buyers who are buying here. Only 14% of the sales fall below the 35-year age group. The rental market is also still busy with the biggest demand in the R4,500 to R7,000 per month range.”
Buying and selling activity is up about 5% since 2015 and the market yielded about R1,5bn in total value.
Activity was marginally down in volume terms, but still yielded R1,22bn in property transactions for last year. Almost 40% of activity is attributable to families, often migrating here from other areas.
The town topped a record R1bn in total transactions last year and 32% more activity compared to 2015.
“Here too, there has been an influx of people moving from up north to the coast with the R1,5m to R3m price bands being the busiest,” said Kevin Engelsman, Seeff’s licensee for the area.
Central Knysna and the waterfront areas such as Thesen Islands are especially in demand, fuelled by an influx from Gauteng and the Cape.
“There is a severe shortage of rental properties in the town and a single listing can easily attract 20 or more applicants,” said Gail Giannone, managing director for Seeff. “In general, the biggest demand is for properties below R2m and for rentals at around the R5,000 per month range.”
Photos: An historic home restored and which is now a magnificent family home in a top location in sought-after Plettenberg Bay.