A prediction made last year by Bill Rawson, Chairman for the Rawson Property Group, to the effect that Cape coastal property is now set for a marked revival, appears to be coming true. Several Rawson coastal franchisees have recently reported a big upturn in sales, especially when compared with the January to February period last year.
Stephen Lubbe, who owns and manages the Rawson Properties George franchise, said that the upturn since mid-2012, had enabled his franchise to take the top award for Rawson franchises in the Southern Cape.
The upswing, said Lubbe, became very obvious immediately after the Christmas and New Year break. A January upturn was also reported by the Rawson Property Group’s Hermanus franchisee, Peter Greyling and the Rawson Strand, Melkbosstrand and Langebaan franchises
“Despite the big influx of visitors over the whole holiday season, as was the case in previous years,” said Lubbe, “we saw very little sales action. However, in January this year enquiries took off in an unprecedented fashion.”
His team, he said, now has over 20 serious buyers investigating properties in his area. Almost 20% of these are from upcountry and many are looking for retirement homes.
“Wisely,” said Lubbe, “they see the advantages of buying five to ten years ahead of actually retiring, while they are still earning salaries. Many will, at least temporarily, have two homes, a trend that we have not seen for three or four years. Buying now also means that they benefit from the current low prices which, as we have publicised as widely as possible, are still 30 to 40% off of their peak levels - although unlikely to remain so low for more than another nine to twelve months.”
Most of the buying action, said Lubbe, is still focused on the R800,000 to R1, 2 million bracket but, he points out, George and its surrounding areas are well endowed with very upmarket homes, several of which are available for anything up to R25 million.
“There has been very little interest in these top range homes recently, said Lubbe, but if one has the means and is looking for a truly amazing bargain, it is in this category that it will be found.” (The Rawson Auctions Garden Route team recently sold a 500 m2, Knysna Heads home for R5 million - well below the price it might have realised in 2007).
Lubbe said that the eastern suburbs of George, served by the Garden Route Mall, are the most sought after but, he added, George’s big advantage is that all its precincts are green, attractive and, for most buyers, represent a huge improvement in their lifestyles.
“It has to be appreciated,” said Lubbe “that George is not primarily a holiday resort – it is also a thriving commercial centre serving a substantial agricultural community. However, it does have a relaxed semi-rural lifestyle and it is close to four of South Africa’s most attractive golf courses: Fancourt, Oubaai, Kingswood and the George Country Club. It also has a mountain backdrop with excellent trails and easy access to beaches.”
Lubbe said that the rise to prominence of his agency, since he bought it in 2010, is due to his “observing all the basics”.
“We strive to maintain a high profile at all times. Every month we hold ten to twelve show houses and our stock canvassing has been so thorough that we have no less than 460 homes listed for sale today – almost all of which can be viewed on the Rawson website.”
The franchise, he said, does all it can to cater for today’s buyers who tend to do considerable internet research before their first meeting with an agency. Having identified the type of home the potential buyer is looking for through email communication, the franchise will send the buyer details and photographs of anything up to eight homes and in many cases will also offer a virtual tour of the property.
Asked to select two homes which he would recommend as offering excellent value in today’s market, Lubbe mentioned:
1. - A three bedroom home in George East, priced at R1,190,000 - exceptional value for this area. Tucked away at the end of a secluded cul-de-sac, this immaculate double storey, cottage style home is characterised by spacious open-plan areas for the kitchen, lounge and dining room – and there is a ceramic fireplace in the living room. These rooms link in with an enclosed veranda and with a private study. The well-cared for garden has a pool and a built-in braai.
- A magnificent Cape style double storey home in Heather Park. Listed at a price of R2,690,000, this home has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a large open-plan kitchen with a breakfast bar linking to open-plan dining, living and family rooms, as well as to a large entertainment veranda with a built-in braai. The beautiful garden has a pool and manicured lawns.
Article by: Danny Bance - www.rawson.co.za
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