Gloomy Times for Kosmos

Private Property South Africa

Once the ‘in’ place to own a holiday home, Hartbeespoort’s Kosmos has seemingly fallen out of favour. So says Glenda Derksen, a local real estate agent who trades in the area.

According to Derksen, Kosmos is now littered with ‘For Sale’ signs, a characteristic which can be attributed to a number of factors she says. These include, amongst others, the recession, unrealistic asking prices and the development of a number of estates in the area. “Kosmos was hit hard by the recession,” explains Derksen. “Its property market is characterised in the main by holiday homes owned by Johannesburg residents. When the bottom fell out of the global economy, many owners suddenly found they could no longer afford a second home at Kosmos and decided to sell.

“Unfortunately, many properties were put on the market at inflated prices and consequently have not sold. Indeed, some Kosmos properties have been sitting on the market for years because their owners refuse to alter their prices. Furthermore, many of these properties are fairly old and need to be refurbished which also puts buyers off. Currently the most buyers seem willing to pay for a house at Kosmos is around R2m. Many properties are being marketed in excess of R3.5m.”

Derksen adds that not only are Kosmos’ high prices discouraging buyers but the fact that Kosmos is littered with ‘For Sale’ signs is off-putting in itself. Interested parties believe there must be something wrong with the area and look elsewhere she says. The fact that the local municipality hasn’t maintained the roads and the presence of a local, growing squatter camp doesn’t exactly help matters she adds.

The establishment of a number of lifestyle estates in the area has also undermined Kosmos’ appeal to some extent explains Derksen. “Buyers can buy a modern and secure five bedroom, three bathroom home complete with entertainment area, garden and pool at Caribbean Beach Estate for R1,8m. Residents can also utilise all the estate’s facilities which is highly appealing to buyers. Other estates in the area which are faring well include Pecanwood Estate, West Lake and Eagles Landing.”

The latest Lightstone report on the area attests to Derksen’s comments. In 2006, 99 freehold sales worth over R68m took place in Kosmos. To date, a mere seven freehold properties have been sold in 2011 at an average price of R1m each. According to the report, one Sectional Title property has been sold in 2011 for R1, 5m.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for Kosmos notes Derksen. “Kosmos is imbued with a charming, village-like feel which is the primary reason why many bought property in the area to begin with. Many of the properties are generously proportioned and feature well established gardens and enjoy spectacular views of the dam and the mountains. The resident boat club has also been well maintained and residents and guests alike continue to frequent it and store their boats there.”

Derksen adds that the condition of the dam has improved ten-fold in recent times which is a big plus for those properties situated on the dam’s water edge. The fact that Kosmos lies within close reach of many of Hartbeespoort’s attractions also acts in its favour. These include Chameleon Village, Bill Harrop’s Balloon Safaris, Amazingwe and Glen Afrique. Visitors can also try their hand at strawberry picking, visit the local elephant or cheetah sanctuary or dine at one of the many local highly acclaimed restaurants.

“For now it’s simply a matter of conditioning sellers. The property market and economy are not what they used to be and Kosmos’ owners have yet to accept that fact. Once they do and once overall economic conditions improve, Kosmos will in all likelihood experience an upswing again.”

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