Driving the wide, spotless streets of Sunningdale on a mild summer’s day, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled onto the set of Pleasantville.
All that’s missing are the picket fences. In fact, walls and fences are conspicuously absent. Spick-and-span modern homes with trim lawns and pretty gardens practically beckon you off streets with charming names like Chantilly Close and Fairview End. Sunningdale sure looks and feels like sit-com suburbia – all safe and friendly.
An estate agent who has lived in neighbouring West Beach for about 15 years says that Sunningdale is a safe suburb, and although its residents may be partial to openness, they’re also security savvy and the vast majority subscribe to an armed-response service.
Sunningdale is young in many senses of the word. It’s only 12 years old, hence the ship-shape state of the properties. For this reason – and the affordability factor – the suburb is very popular with young, first-time buyers, who appreciate the modern finishes and the look and feel of spanking-new starter homes.
“It’s a good place to get your foot in the door,” says the agent. Also, Garden Cities, the company responsible for developing Sunningdale, has a reputation for building quality homes, according to the agent.
Young people can’t afford to buy closer to the beach than Sunningdale, she says, particularly up the West Coast where property has become viciously expensive.
A mere kilometre from the beach, where you can take in the best views of Table Mountain, Sunningdale is just off West Coast Road (the R27).
Although it’s less than 30 kilometres from the city of Cape Town, the commute into town can be a nightmare during peak hours, Monday to Friday. To avoid the bumper-to-bumper grind, locals say you don’t want to leave home later than 6:15 am. And if you work in the city, you have little choice but the R27. The N7 is an option, but fighting your way there – along Blouberg Road and Koeberg Road – defeats the object. The good news, however, is that road works are under way to create an extra lane on the R27.
Traffic aside, you can’t go wrong buying property in Sunningdale. Prices are reasonable and properties have a good resale value. For around R780 000 you can pick up a two-bedroom home approximately 70 square metres in size on a 345 square metre plot, with a single garage. At the upper end of the market, you can get a four-bedroom home with a swimming pool inside a security estate for R1.6 million.
There’s a lot of excitement in Sunningdale at the moment since the recent announcement that the city council has given the nod for the development of phase nine of the suburb. Development in the area has been on hold for the past year because of the strain on infrastructure.
Over the next five years, about 1 100 new homes will be built on 25 hectares of land off Tryall Road. The houses will be between 105 and 150 square metres on stands of up to 600 square metres. The suburb already has about 3 000 houses and numerous excellent amenities, such as the new state-of-the-art Netcare Blaauberg Hospital and the West Coast Village shopping centre.
There are four security estates in Sunningdale: Augusta Place, Oakhill Village, Westwood and Wentworth Village, which is for over 55s.
Wentworth is close to the hospital and West Coast Village centre, which is home to a Pick n Pay, a Woolies food store, Clicks, Mugg & Bean, Wimpy and a host of other eateries, shops and banks. It’s also very close to the Lifestyle Centre, where you’ll find a mega-big Builder’s Warehouse, plus various DIY and home improvement stores.
Another of Sunningdale’s big selling points is its private schools. The suburb itself has two and neighbouring Parklands also has two.
With the beach just down the drag, Sunningdale’s perfect for water sports enthusiasts. When the wind is pumping there’s only one place to be and that’s in the surf. Whether it’s surfing, wind surfing or kite surfing that takes your fancy, you’ll find it all right there. Sunningdale also has numerous green belts and a public sports complex across the road from the hospital.
And when suburbia starts to close in on you, you’re only about 50 kilometres from Darling, the home of the eccentric and beloved Evita Bezuidenhout. If theatre’s not your thing, book into a bed and breakfast in the charming fishing village of Paternoster or take the family to the West Coast National Park or the fascinating Fossil Park.
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