Hermanus remains a destination of choice for South Africans relocating to the coast – and cash sales still represent a big chunk of transactions. Ludwig Schulenburg, owner of the local Aida estate office, reports that properties around the R2m to R6m mark remain popular among local wine farmers buying holiday homes and people who are “semi-grating” from Gauteng. “This type of buyer most often pays cash still, although the number using bank finance is starting to grow again. And it is notable that the influx of upcountry buyers has increased since the recent Easter weekend,” he says. Hermanus’ attraction for Gauteng buyers is not only the lifestyle but also the fact that the town is underpinned by a permanent economy, in contrast to many surrounding towns that survive thanks to tourism, Schulenburg says. “There are business opportunities here and the highly functional city council contributes greatly to business confidence. The impact of the council’s management skills and sound financial management is also clearly evident in the clean streets, low crime rate, and our beaches that retain blue-flag status. “Not only does this inspire business confidence, but it also contributes to Hermanus’ attraction to new residents as well as holidaymakers – which, in turn, stimulates local business,” Schulenburg says. International buyers, who were very active in the local residential market prior to the recession, are once again showing interest, but enquiries are not yet translating to substantial sales. Schulenburg adds, however, that international “swallows” who earlier bought properties in Hermanus as summer residences are showing no sign of abandoning their lifestyle or putting their properties up for sale. Traffic congestion, which has been the bane of residents and visitors alike during high season, will be relieved when the ring road currently under construction opens within the next few months. Prices for residential units currently start at around R700 000 for apartments, while family/holiday homes up to around the R3,2m mark attract buyers. Prices of top properties that would be suitable as boutique hotels go up to R33m. Stands on the beachfront can go for as much as R14m while inland stands can be had for around R1,5m.
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