Many people in the major cities in South Africa have a yearning for a quieter, more rural lifestyle, one in which the often degrading influences of modern city life are less apparent. This yearning, says Tertius Joubert, the Rawson Property Group’s franchisee for Wellington, tends to grow in strength when couples are bringing up children.
At the Cape, says Joubert, people inclined to feel this way tend to look first to Stellenbosch, Paarl, Somerset West and Wellington for alternative homes. All of these have good schools and are attractive to those looking to relocate — but it soon becomes obvious to them that the prices of Wellington homes are significantly lower than those of the other three towns mentioned. “The Winelands open air rural lifestyle which certain people are seeking is much the same in all these towns but the price difference is very substantial,” said Joubert. “In general, homes in Wellington will be 30% to 40% less expensive.”
It is this indisputable fact, said Joubert, which has led to a sharp rise over the last two years of home sales in Wellington, especially in the lower price brackets (R800,000 to R1,6 million). “We are,” said Joubert, “still seeing very limited interest in the higher price bracket — i.e. those homes priced from R2 million to R6 million even though Wellington has a fair share of such homes. Below R1,6 million, however, stock shortages are now making themselves felt, as are price rises which are now in the region or 10% to 12% per annum.”
Joubert’s team of four has responded to the stock shortage situation by canvassing aggressively and on an on-going basis. As a result, in any one month, they are still likely to have up to 40 homes for sale — and these have been selling at a very satisfactory rate. Any correctly priced home in the more affordable brackets mentioned, said Joubert, will probably be sold in four to six weeks and if his team had more stock of this kind, they could probably sell 50% more homes year-on-year.
Particularly good value here at Wellington right now, said Joubert, are the town’s sectional title apartments, 70% of which are rented out to the 3,000 students attending the teacher training, the information technology and the agricultural sciences colleges. The majority of these students, he said, are to be found in such upmarket developments as the Piano Factory and River Sands. In general, such units will sell for R400,000 to R600,000.
Also offering exceptionally good value in Wellington, said Joubert, are the new housing developments, on one of which, Bains Vallei, his team has the sole mandate. This project will have 32 freestanding homes (a few of which will be double storey) and all conform to an attractive white plaster, grey, pitched roof, Cape Vernacular style. They are sold at plot and plan prices of R890,000 to R1,4 million.
The other new developments, all in his view very attractive, said Joubert, are Bergendal and the Ranzadale. Here prices are, again, low in comparison to those of sectional title projects nearer to Cape Town.
Those looking for buy-to-let opportunities in the Boland town, said Joubert, should check out what Wellington can provide. The sectional title units here rent from R8,000 upwards and freestanding homes from R8,000 to R10,000, with one or two prices far higher.
Looking ahead, Joubert said that there is always a danger of stock shortages in the high demand price brackets causing estate agents to overvalue in order to get mandates. However, as yet, that has not been a serious problem in Wellington. His own team, he said, is 100% committed to providing totally accurate, market based valuations and they regard this as the cornerstone to an estate agency’s professionalism.
“I am more and more convinced that our ability and willingness to give accurate, market related valuations has enhanced our reputation in this town more than anything else,” said Joubert. “This is undoubtedly one of the factors that has made us one of the top two estate agencies in the town within the relatively short time we have been operating here.”