Of Mink and Manure

Private Property South Africa
Anna-Marie Smith

Living close to nature and in full view of Chapman’s peak, not many of Noordhoek’s well heeled residents known to be nature lovers, would indulge in the perceived luxuries of mink. Instead, some choose to straddle their beloved equines to ride on a spectacular seven kilometer stretch of white sandy beach, while admiring the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets of their valley .

Not surprising then that this charming suburb also attracts a colourful bohemian community, who care about their natural environment that offers a lifestyle of mountainous surroundings, worldclass surfing conditions, within close proximity to schools and public amenities. Such are the passions of these residents and local environmentalists, who have acquired a reputation for challenging property developers when their natural habitat seems threatened, as seen in the ongoing protection of the endangered Leopard Toad species.

Going as far back as the late 1700’s, the name Noordhoek originated from two different historical sources. One recorded origin is from Nors Hoek, meaning Norwegian Corner in reference to Norwegian families who started vegetable farming here in the early 1900s, supplying the old Simon’s Town Naval Base. The other originates from the northern corner of the original farm Slangkop, stretching from Kommetjie to Noordhoek, that was eventually divided into six portions with Noordhoek holding the prize position of the most Northern corner.

Local council instituted and maintained general plot sizes of quarters of acres sometime ago. However, in some demarcated areas plot sizes are restricted to one, two and five acres respectively. Such is one of Noordhoek’s prime pieces of real estate, the De Goede Hoop Estate that changed hands during the 1980’s and was sold by the Wiley family. The sub-division of this farm resulted in 46 plots measuring two hectare (five acres) each, including specific residential and environmental development guidelines. Five years ago this estate made national headlines, when SA’s first property sale in excess of R100 million was concluded there. The stately manor house was sold to British royalty for R106 million, after the original asking price was set at R150 million. During the property boom some of these sought after five acre properties fetched between R30 and R50 million.

Property prices in Noordhoek remain fairly stable, as seen in the large proportion of 82 percent freehold properties showing a reasonable turnover. The total number of property sales recorded in Noordhoek last year was 67, of which 17 are estate homes holding average prices of R1.089 million, and 32 freehold properties with average values of R2.831. A total of 12 of properties sold in 2010 were valued over R4.1 million, and average freehold prices in Noordhoek saw a recovery since dropping from R2.230 in 2007 in the following two years to a close recovery in 2010 of R2.187. Lightstone shows 43 percent of recent sellers having stayed for five to seven years, and 35 percent of stable owners stayed here for longer than 11 years.

For those seeking outdoor activities Noordhoek offers many choices, including hiking along the nearby Noordhoek ridge to the peak, with magnificent views from ‘Chappies’ or in Silvermine Reserve overlooking brilliant white beaches as far as Klein Slangkop lighthouse at Kommetjie. Noorhoek Village in the centre of this suburb also offers entertainment and retail facilities, including a number of excellent restaurants, a tackle shop, bakery and other products.

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