A study done by New World Wealth, a Johannesburg-based wealth consultancy, has found that Knysna on the Cape Garden Route, tops the list nationally for the highest number of multi-millionaire owned second homes, significantly more than even the Atlantic Seaboard.
According to the report, some 320 such homes are in the town, notably more than in Camps Bay (220), Plettenberg Bay (180), Clifton (160), Bantry Bay (150) and Fresnaye (130).
After the recent devastating fires, the town is beginning to rebuild and, Ms Gail Giannone, Seeff MD for the area, says that it should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been to Knysna. It is one of the most scenic destinations in the country. The beautiful Knysna Lagoon flanked by the two giant heads and yacht lined waterfront make it a picture pretty town with a real international quality to it.
The town is one of the few coastal areas where sales activity over the last year has remained fairly on par with the previous year. Lightstone data shows that transactions for the last year topped a significant R1.2bn in value at an average transaction price of R1.8m, the highest of the Garden Route towns including Plettenberg Bay.
Knysna currently boasts an average property price of around R3.7 million for luxury homes. It is renowned for its two top end luxury golf estate developments, Simola and Pezula where investment homes can range into the upper millions. There are also two island suburbs, Leisure Isle and Thesen Islands with its private jetties, both of which attract luxury buyers.
Ms Giannone says that Knysna attracts buyers from across the world and has become a very popular second home destination. More than 60% of buyers are older, generally over the age of forty because it is such a fabulous retirement destination. It is devoid of industry, offers a healthy environment and excellent temperate climate. It is also a good commuter base for anyone who works in the George or Plettenberg Bay area.
With George International Airport about an hour’s drive away, it is very accessible. Aside from excellent facilities and schools in the area, you also have everything you could want for in nearby George, including a large regional shopping mall with all of the big brands that you would get in a big city, she says.
Knysna also has two quaint hamlets, Sedgefield and Belvidere, the latter located on the western shores of the lagoon and with fabulous views.
Belvidere has an interesting history according to Peter Rademeyer and Yvette Botha, agents for Seeff. It retains the name of the original farm that was bought in the early 1800s by Thomas Henry Duthie, a young Scottish soldier from the Cape of Good Hope who married George Rex’s young daughter, Caroline. He bought the farm from his new father in law and built the stately Georgian-styled Belvidere Manor House and proclaimed the little village of Belvidere. The house is now the reception of the Belvidere Manor Hotel.
Part of the attraction, is that it has retained its quaint old English character with a single ring road that reduces the amount of traffic. While Knysna is a sought-after millionaire location, you can still buy a lot more here for your money compared to Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard, say the agents.
You can for example find a magnificent investment home at R18 million that offers 1466sqm in floor space and a total 4579sqm in land that includes a 1832m2 tract of land under lawn which runs down to the lagoon protecting the beautiful view in perpetuity.
The architecturally designed home delivers on every aspect of luxury, from a double volume entrance with a large chandelier to a grand, sweeping staircase and double-volume living rooms and extras such as a large office/study, fully equipped bar along with a spacious wine cellar with a dining area and a vaulted ceiling. For the gourmet cook, there is a large designer kitchen with separate walk-in pantry, scullery and laundry.
There are four bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms equipped with under-floor heating. The master suite is huge and opens to a private balcony and fabulous waterfront views. There is also a complete apartment above the double garage that boasts a lounge, kitchenette and large bedroom suite. There is plenty of entertainment space including a large outdoor area that is under cover and overlooks the large swimming pool. Additional features include a pair of double garages with a separate boat port and workshop, accessed from the cobbled forecourt.