The recent spike in semigration has seen market activity soar in the Western Cape once again, with many agents reporting an exceptionally busy festive season and a deluge of enquiries not only from upcountry but also abroad.
Semigration has also fuelled the secure estate sector, especially in the Mother City where, according to Steve Thomas and Dave Burger, secure estates specialists for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Constantiaberg, it was the busiest December they experienced in almost 20 years, with the constant stream of enquiries spilling over into January.
“Most buyers in our area are buying into the Cape Town lifestyle and the close proximity to a host of scenic amenities such as golf courses, mountain bike and hiking trails, beaches and sailing.
“The increase in the secure environment trend also partly often driven by a growing number of families who are relocating for a favourable lifestyle but where the husband or wife has to regularly commute to another city. Apart from local families from Kwazulu Natal and Gauteng who have chosen to ‘semigrate’ to Cape Town, there also appears to be a revival of foreign interest,” said Thomas.
Sotheby’s International Realty research has shown that at least 40% of the global workforce is now ‘location independent’ and the opportunity to live in harmony with the stunning natural environment offered by estates like Stonehurst, High Constantia and Silwersteen, is fuelling keen local and foreign interest, he said.
The realtor said that the Garden Route has become the destination of choice for many with record sales being recorded in some areas. December is traditionally a busy month due to the influx of holidaymakers, but Plettenberg was particularly busy, said Steve Neufeld, manager principal for the group in Plettenberg Bay.
“We had an excellent year in 2020, but 2021 doubled that turnover and our office was involved in R877 million worth of sales this year alone. Most of our buyers are from Gauteng (38%), followed by locals (30%) – although I suspect some of these are people that recently moved here from Gauteng – and Cape Town investors account for around 8%, which has dropped from 12% in 2020.”
He added that there has been high activity across the board, with substantial price increases across all sectors and stock shortages looming.
“There currently still is some stock, but it’s definitely becoming scarce. Vacant land has become especially sought after and, where we used to have an oversupply in many of the more popular gated estates, there is now scarcity.”
The group’s Knysna and Sedgefield office also enjoyed an exceptional season, according to director, Richard Foyn.
“December was extremely busy with demand for properties across the board and this activity has over-flowed into January with no decline in web hits or activity thus far and stock is starting to run low. Stock is a huge problem at the moment, especially in the under R3.5 million price band and we are desperate for new developments in the area, particularly retirement estates.”
Foyn said that their market has also largely been driven by semigrations, with an increase in KZN, Free State and Pretoria buyers specifically.
“The number of Gauteng buyers has also risen but so has the percentage of Garden Route buyers as many are moving from one town to the next or are downsizing their current homes.”
George and Wilderness Principal, Tim Kirby, also reported strong activity, both in the estate sector and single residential sales in traditional non-gated suburbs, with Gauteng buyers making up almost 70% of recent buyers.
He added that there has also been an increase in enquiries from ex-pats looking to return to South Africa, and to the Garden Route in particular, as they are now able to work remotely.
“The market activity in George and Wilderness has grown steadily since 1 June 2020, with the result being that we now have almost zero stock levels and look forward to several new developments becoming available from June this year.
“The George buyer profile has also changed quite markedly during the past two years, and now includes a much broader spectrum of buyers, from investor retirees to professionals with young families now able to work remotely.”
The growing demand in the Western Cape since June 2020 has sparked new development in the province with several already completed or under construction with more in the pipeline. In George, several new developments are due for release in June this year and a number are already underway or in the pipeline in the Constantiaberg area.
In Plettenberg, only one of the four houses at One Beachy Head remains unsold, sales at Duin en See have been brisk and construction of the Plett Quarter, a anew mixed-use luxury apartment complex in Main Street, commences on 1 May (expected completion: 1 Dec 2023).