These coastal villages in the Western Cape have become hot property

The West Coast property market enjoyed some of the best activity in the last three years, driven by a combination of factors arising from the Covid pandemic, says Pierre Germishuys, manager director for Seeff West Coast.

He said that it is almost counterintuitive 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 strong activity.

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 the property expert said.

Buy-to-let investors are also still drawn to the area. Some villages report strong local holiday bookings with people streaming to areas such as Langebaan and Paternoster over weekends to get away from spending 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 the end of July. The highest sales volume has been in Langebaan, with 658 transfers to the value of just over R1 billion.

Median prices have doubled over the past decade for most villages and are up by 110% for Langebaan and almost 150% for Paternoster and St Helena Bay.

Germishuys said the proximity to Cape Town and the international airport is a big advantage for the property market with not just weekenders and holidaymakers heading here, but it has become a sought-after area for second homes to escape to during lockdowns.

Villages such as Langebaan and Paternoster report a steady rise in permanent residents driven by older buyers retiring and young professionals and even families relocating here given access to goods, schools and a wholesome environment to raise children.

Although there is a level of commercialisation, the area remains fairly unspoilt, he said.

Marina Enslin, an achiever agent from Seeff Paternoster, said houses and vacant plots are selling across all price bands, including more expensive sea-facing properties. She recently sold two houses above R8 million and 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 a holiday home. Although still primarily a holiday village, buyers can now work from home looking to move here permanently, she said.

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 and a house so that they can relocate to the area, the agent said.

From an average selling price point of view, Yzerfontein, Langebaan and Paternoster are the most expensive, with a freehold price of around R2.1 million 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, said Germishuys.

Mariska Le Roux, a rental agent with Seeff Langebaan, said 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.

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These coastal villages in the Western Cape have become hot property