Foreigners are scooping up property in this part of South Africa

 ·9 Mar 2024

There has been a marked increase in the number of foreign buyers in the Helderberg region in the Western Cape.

Over the last three years, foreign buyers have boosted the sales and rental markets in Somerset West, Strand and Gordon’s Bay, with ongoing development needed to meet the growing demand.

“Somerset West has always been very popular amongst foreign buyers and, after a slight decline during Covid, this sector of the market has recovered well, and the swallows have returned,” said Andre Coetzee from Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.

“The majority buy properties here to escape the European winter, and they tend to stay in South Africa for between three and six months a year. There is a large and growing German, Swiss and Duch community in Somerset West, and their preferred properties are in gated estates in the R4 million to R12m price band.”

“Not only do they appreciate the great value for money from a price point, but the relatively cheaper cost of living plus the lifestyle factor makes this area very appealing to foreign buyers, despite the country’s issues and eco-political climate.”

There has also been a spike in buyers semigrating from Gauteng and KZN, with constant demand for correctly priced properties in all price segments of the market.

“This increase in market activity since lockdown ended is clearly evidenced by Lightstone data, which reveals that during the past years, the median house price in all three areas reached a record high.

“In Strand, the median house price jumped from R1.27 million in 2022 to R1.59m in 2023, in Gordon’s Bay a high of R1.89m was reached in 2022, dipping only slightly to R1.88m last year and in Somerset West, a previous high of R3.3m in 2022 was pipped at the beginning of this year when it rose to R3.96m.”

“The sectional title market has also fared well, with the median price in Somerset West and Strand reaching a median high this year of R3.1m and R1.45, respectively, while in Gordon’s Bay, a record median price of R762,500 was set in 2023.”

To meet the demand for more affordable accommodation, there are also many new residential developments in the area.

“Most are secure estates or complexes that offer 24-hour security along with great lifestyle offerings such as gyms, swimming pools and so on, and some estates offer a wide variety of property options ranging from one-bedroom apartments to expansive freestanding houses,” said Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty’s Chantal Botes.

However, Coetzee warned that the Helderberg market has strengthened notably, with sellers needing to remember that buyers are well-informed and will not overpay for a property.

“They (buyers) also have many tools at their disposal to compare properties, and value for money tops most buyer’s lists. Even in a high-demand market, overpriced properties tend to sit nowadays.”

Below are properties in these areas at various price points:

  • 3 bedroom house in Fairhaven Country Estate, Somerset West
  • Price: R13,500,000

  • 3 Bedroom House in Strand North, Strand
  • Price: R4,450,000

  • 2 Bedroom Apartment in Greenbay Eco Estate
  • Price: R1,250,000

Read: South Africa’s middle class is in deep trouble

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