The holiday season has come and gone and it’s now time to seriously consider whether a return to the Cape to buy that dream leisure home makes good investment sense.
The rand might be rallying but it is still only the very wealthy who have the luxury of buying a holiday home with nary a care for return on investment. For the rest of us, that little piece of paradise for which we yearn to escape, be it over the weekend or for the duration of the holiday season, must either be able to achieve some rental income or be positioned in a place where capital growth is a distinct possibility.
Of course, for those who can afford it, a holiday home on the Atlantic Seaboard is, undoubtedly, first prize. Its proximity to the CBD, not to mention the city’s best beaches, restaurants, shops and nightlife, makes property on this stretch of the coastline the most desirable in the Cape – and the most expensive. But, for many, tourist traffic jams and camera-touting crowds are the very last things wanted on holiday. Indeed, even many of those who own leisure properties on the Atlantic Seaboard shun the area over high season, preferring instead to capitalise on the staggering rentals they can achieve at this time.
Fortunately, the Cape offers plenty of idyllic alternatives to Camps Bay, Clifton and Llandudno – country and coastal enclaves where holiday-home owners can get away from it all, but without their investment capital getting away too. Chas Everitt International has compiled a roundup of those where both happy memories and healthy returns can be made:
With the phenomenal growth of its permanent population, Hermanus is now increasingly considered a residential town, but, a mere 30-minute drive away, Kleinmond is still a holidaymakers’ haven, says Dean Meijer, principal of Chas Everitt International on the Whale Coast.
“Kleinmond is definitely on the uptick. It has all the services of a larger town but still retains that laidback holiday feel and properties here are more affordably priced – but only just. It’s where the people who used to buy leisure homes in Hermanus are now looking.”
That’s not to say that the small coastal town, which is situated inside a UNESCO-declared biosphere, hasn’t seen its share of growth. “Kleinmond’s infrastructure is becoming increasingly formalised and now includes the larger convenience stores and major banks,” says Meijer, who notes, however, that tourism still plays a major role in the town’s economy.
And, indeed, for holidaymakers, Kleinmond offers diversions aplenty, from hiking and biking in the 100 000ha Kogelberg Nature Reserve to enjoying a round of golf on the 18-hole championship course at nearby Arabella Country Estate. The town also boasts an unspoiled Blue Flag beach, from which, during the winter months, southern right whales can be easily spotted.
“Property in Kleinmond has experienced year-on-year growth of 25 to 30%, offering investors great potential returns,” says Meijer. “And the rental market is equally strong: homeowners are getting R2000 to R3000 a day for holiday lets in peak season.”
Like Hermanus, this small village in the foothills of the Riviersonderend Mountains is increasingly attracting those seeking permanent relocation. But there is still plenty of scope in the holiday-home market, says Shaun King, who heads up the local Chas Everitt International franchise and warns buyers not to be fooled by McGregor’s quiet country façade.
“From an art route to wine and whisky tasting, there are plenty of things to do in and around the village to make a stay here truly unforgettable,” he says, noting that McGregor is bordered by the Krans and Vrolijkheid nature reserves, which both offer some of the best hiking in the Cape, and the village itself hosts a Saturday-morning market and weekend film and music events.
Characterised by whitewashed, thatched cottages, this quirky yet cultured village – the best preserved example of a mid 19th-century townscape in the Cape – may have been forgotten by time but it has most certainly not been ignored by investors. “When I arrived here seven years ago a small two-bedroom cottage would have sold for around R700 000. Today, these properties are going for R1,3m to R1,4m,” says King, noting that anything under R2m in a good part of town will sell within a week.
He adds that tourism, too, is booming and a healthy rental income for short-term holiday-season lets is pretty much a given. “Even McGregor’s guesthouse owners get up to R1500/person for a night’s stay.”
Set on a large stand down a private panhandle, this refurbished country cottage is for sale through Chas Everitt International for R1,495m. Situated within walking distance of McGregor’s coffee shops, restaurants, pubs and cafes, it features two bedrooms and bathrooms, an open-plan living area and a well-established garden. For more details click here.
Almost entirely encircled by mountains and offering some of the best hiking, abseiling and rock climbing in South Africa, Montagu’s appeal to holidaymakers is not difficult to fathom. The town is also the gateway to Route 62, the world’s longest wine route and a recognised grade-one tourist attraction. Add to this a collection of natural hot-spring pools – a veritable oasis in the heart of the Klein Karoo – and a bird sanctuary smack-bang in the middle of town, and Montagu continues to lure more and more visitors every year.
Needless to say, this has had an extremely positive impact on the town’s property market, says Nelda Wiese, who operates the local Chas Everitt International franchise. “Our housing stock has been significantly depleted in the last 24 months due to Montagu’s growing popularity. Property values have increased as much as 30%, with the average house now selling for R1,45m.”
She says new buyers include a significant number of those in the hospitality industry who are taking advantage of the upsurge in tourism. “The town is particularly appealing to visitors because it has a quiet, historic ambience with characterful, genuinely Victorian homes and Karoo cottages. Owners of upmarket holiday homes can expect a daily rental return of around R350/person for a short-term, self-catering let but, as I see it, the steadily increasing number of enquiries we get must inevitably start causing these prices to rise.”
* Still Bay
A charming seaside village that forms part of the famous Garden Route, Still Bay is situated along the banks of the Goukou River estuary where it meets the Indian Ocean on the Southern Cape coast. Thanks to its shallow bay, its clean, extensive sandy beaches (of which Lappiesbaai has Blue Flag status during the December-January holiday season), its lagoon and its 15km-long navigable river, every kind of water-related activity can be undertaken here. George International Airport is an hour away, Cape Town, three.
“In the past, buyers were Capetonians and Gautengers seeking homes for their annual coastal getaway, but now many are expats who live abroad but want holiday homes in South Africa, as well as those relocating from up north and Kwazulu-Natal, says Charles de Kock, principal of Chas Everitt International in the Southern Cape.
Property prices have escalated accordingly, he says. “We’ve experienced a healthy 10% year-on-year increase and a three-bedroom home with a view now costs around R1,5m. In addition, the price of land here has more than doubled in the past two years – from R30 000/ha to an average of R70 000/ha – and there has been an enormous interest in smallholdings and lifestyle farms.”
While Still Bay draws watersport enthusiasts and nature lovers in their droves, De Kock points out that it’s a predominantly seasonal influx. “So, out of season, short-term rentals cannot be relied upon as a steady income stream.”
Built around several little coves, this isolated traditional fishing village is undoubtedly one of the prettiest on the West Coast. Often referred to as “Namaqualand by the sea”, such is the breathtaking beauty of its springtime wildflowers, Jacobsbaai’s coastal fynbos supports a variety of wildlife, making it both a bird lovers’ and a hikers’ paradise. Strict building restrictions have also preserved its 2km-long coastline and homes are mainly lime-washed cottages set against an azure sea. In short, it’s a picture-perfect holiday retreat – a fact that has not escaped the attention of homebuyers.
“Annual house-price growth is at least 20%, with a 250sqm home now costing between R1,5 and R1,8m – more if it has a view,” says Kobus Potgieter, principal of Chas Everitt International on the West Coast.
While he explains that the whole of the coastline’s property market has been significantly bolstered by an influx of permanent residents working in the new industries that have sprung up in the wake of industrial development in nearby Saldanha, Jacobsbaai is still remote enough to retain its holiday ambiance.
Holiday-home buyers can expect a good rental return if they’re willing to forego the use of their properties during peak season, he says. “Daily self-catering rates of R1000/person are not uncommon. And, because there is a severe shortage of long-term rental stock, monthly rents of R15 000-plus for a two- to three-bedroom house are easily obtained, with this rate expected to rise by more than 30% annually.”
Featuring a flatlet and swimming pool, this well-kept four-bedroom home in Jacobsbaai is for sale through Chas Everitt International for R2,3m. The open-plan kitchen and living area is ideal for entertaining while new low-maintenance laminate floors and powder-coated aluminium window frames ensure that holidays here aren’t spent seeing to upkeep.