Generally speaking, and having regard for the subdued market conditions, well-priced family houses are still in demand and still selling like “hotcakes” in the school catchment areas of the Southern Suburbs.
James Lewis, MD for Seeff Southern Suburbs says that areas such as Claremont/Lynfrae, Rondebosch and Newlands have gained popularity as buyers look to move closer to schools and good amenities and cutting down on travelling time.
It is not necessarily a lack of buyer interest, but often overpricing that holds back sales, says Belinda Keys of Seeff Claremont and Lynfrae who, with 22 sales, ranging in price from around R2.45m to R5.4m enjoyed a buoyant year.
Claremont and Lynfrae enjoy easy access to top schools such as Bishops primary and high schools, Rondebosch Prep and Rondebosch Boys High, Rustenburg and Golden Grove.
The market remains busy, she says, adding that there are about 40 houses on the market, with only around 10 which have been on the market for about 8 months due to incorrect pricing. In this market, she adds, it is all about pricing. Most of the listings are in the sought-after R3-4 million range.
Aside from first time buyers, the area attracts young couples starting families and those with small children. Houses under R3m tend to be small with little or no parking and mainly appeal to singles, professionals, young couples with no kids or for scaling down.
Most buyers want three bed-two bath houses with double garages and a garden below R5m. Above that, the homes generally have bigger erfs, but stock is limited as families stay for a long time.
While most buyers want a bargain to renovate as they intend staying for a long time while kids are at school, there are plenty of newly renovated homes which sell equally fast to those who want that convenience.
Lynfrae tends to be the most popular, although the entry level price is a little higher at R4 million-plus, but stock levels tend to be tight. Also popular, is the area below Belvedere Road where you can find a decent family house for R3-R4 million.
Belinda cautions sellers around the need for correct pricing and using an experienced agent to achieve the best results. If priced correctly, houses should sell within 1-2 months. Properties should be well presented, neat and tidy, with all maintenance issues sorted, and be aesthetically pleasing, even if un-renovated. Buyers need to be impressed the minute they walk through the front door.
With no less than 18 schools in the area including popular options such as Oakhust Girls, Rondebosch Boys High, Bishops, Micklefield and Rustenburg, Rondebosch is a popular choice for families. It also offers bigger houses, often with larger grounds and a swimming pool.
Here too, Seeff did well, with Charmaine Scott-Wilson, Seeff’s specialist for freehold property concluding 15 sales in a challenging year, with prices ranging from R5m to around R7.6m and R8.5m and one exceptional sale of R15 million for a home of distinction set on over 2100sqms.
Sellers normally live in Rondebosch for the duration of their childrens' education and then move on to a more lock-up-and-go lifestyle. Parents are wanting their children to walk to school hence finding Rondebosch an area of choice.
She says that sellers should note that in the current climate, buyers are looking for value and are well informed about the market and prices. The most popular price range is R5-R7 million and properties need to be neat, well presented and have street appeal.
Lewis adds further that family houses in the school catchment areas also tend to be good rental investments.
While many areas are feeling the pinch of a slower market, it is encouraging that buyers are still looking to get a foothold in popular family areas. The agents believe that the demand will remain steady and sellers can capitalise on this provided they remain realistic with their price expectations.