Hout Bay Comes Up Trumps

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

The large forests that once graced the Hout Bay region may have gone, but the magic of this once-small harbour village remains. The area has had its ups-and-downs as well as a fair amount of bad publicity: regardless, the suburb still holds fascination for many and is still a popular area in which to live.Set in spectacular scenery, almost completely surrounded by a World Heritage site, the suburb has grown enormously in recent years and what was once a sleepy village has been transformed into a large suburban area with 18 districts. Despite this, the entire area has managed to retain a rural ambiance.As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, the fact that Hout Bay has a large informal settlement on its doorstep has led to numerous front-page stories in the media. Much has been written about the poorer members of the community and the challenges they face and Cape Town Municipality recently came under fire for forcibly removing squatters who had illegally erected shacks in a fire break.Although many areas in South Africa are faced with the challenges of living close to informal settlements, Hout Bay, it seems, has looked at the situation and has made it workable for all. When squatters initially moved in, petty and opportunistic crime levels soared. The Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch has implemented systems, which have gone on to be emulated throughout South Africa, and these have managed to cut crime in the area by approximately 78%. As a prime tourist destination, it appears that all the majority of residents have pulled together and while the beaches may still be the main draw card, tours into the informal settlements have become increasing popular. Tourism has also boosted employment in the area, further helping the situation.While many coastal areas have been affected by the economic downturn, this has not proved to be the case in Hout Bay. Situated close to Cape Town city centre, the area has weathered the storm and has come up smiling. Lightstone statistics reflect this point, indicating that 232 sales were concluded last year. Although some properties prices have been affected by the proximity of the informal settlements, this factor has not influenced prices across the board. The figures indicate that 46 of the properties transferred in 2010, sold for more than R3m. The average price obtained in this category was R4.228m. Of the total sales, 162 were freehold and the remaining 70 were made up of sectional title and estate sales. The total value of property sold in this region amounted to R468m.Referred to as the Republic of Hout Bay by the locals, the area offers a wealth of amenities particularly for those partaking in outdoor activities. Hiking and cycling in the surrounding mountains is a popular pastime as well as fishing and sea kayaking. For those wishing to take life a little easier, cruises to the V&A Waterfront and nearby Seal Island are available.

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