Spring is here, and the first week of September saw the Seeff Hillcrest, Kloof & Waterfall office conclude 9 transactions totalling over R35 million. In what has been reported to be a heavily contracted market, the Upper Highway area continues to fare better than most, for a number of reasons.
Says Michele Wilson, co-Director of Seeff in this area: “The context of this strong positive start to September needs to be understood through reliable information on market trends in the area.
“The underlying and continual development in the area lays the foundation for healthy sales activity. This development is broad-based and includes the renewal and renovation of all of our local shopping centres, as well as the now settled new Watercrest Mall. The area is known for its excellent schooling options, and adding to the pull has been the emergence of 5 new schools in the past 3 years. A number of top-brand motor car dealerships are established in the area, with the Nissen brand due to move into the Old Main Road shortly. Developers have also targeted the area, and the 508-unit Emberton Estate and the first phase of Cotswold Fens are aimed at a more affordable market.”
Fellow co-Director of Seeff Hillcrest, Kloof & Waterfall, Gregg Wilson, points out that the area offers excellent value for money compared to Durban North, Umhlanga and Ballito, and says that there is definitely a move towards a slight buyers’ market in the area.
He adds that 84% of buyers in the area target properties priced below R3m with 76% of all buyers looking below R2m. “This means that properties in the higher-priced brackets are attracting less attention than previously. Our advice to sellers is to ask specific questions of their agents in terms of price category when deciding on the correct asking price for their property. For example, for freestanding houses priced between R2m and R3m the market currently carries 123 items of stock, with sales at a pace of 7.6 units per month. It is clear from this that unless a seller prices their property in the top 20, it will remain on the market for a long time.
“It is in every seller’s interest not to be on the market for longer than 3 months. Seeff Hillcrest, Kloof & Waterfall has a track record of selling 80% of its sole mandates within 5 or 6 weeks, at a selling price within 6% of asking price. This kind of performance is part of the reason that this office has achieved a 20% market share in the area, and supports the view that if properties remain on the market for too long they achieve less than their real value.
“The three top-selling items in the area are all freestanding homes priced below R3m, which is a completely new trend and squashes the popular belief that everyone is buying townhouses. Our prime buyers are families, with the buyer age group being 30–45 years. In short, they are bringing their children to good schools.
“Current examples of superb value in the area include a Winston Park property recently sold at R5.2m for a 727 m2 immaculately renovated home on a level acre. At the lower price range of under R2m a property in Hillcrest sold at R1.995m offered 4 beds and a modern renovation situated on a half-acre. Both of these are close to excellent schools.
“If we move to current properties on the market, there is a stunning 6 bed, 5 bath, 4 lounge Tuscan townhouse with high-end finishes in Hillcrest central which is on the market for R6.2m. The most popular price category is freestanding houses between R1.5m and R2m, which sell at a rate of 13.5 homes per month. We currently hold 62 items of stock in this band.
“In conclusion, there is the obvious caution to sellers about correct pricing, but in terms of overall sentiment the residential property market in the Upper Highway area is operating on a cautiously optimistic trend of consistent sales at a slightly reduced level than in 2017.”