Ready, Steady, Plumstead!

Private Property South Africa
Angelique Arde

Every so often, you’ll spot in the property advertisements Plumstead apparently misspelt as “Plumbstead”. Of course, it’s no mistake. It’s an estate agent playing on words, suggesting that you’d be plumb crazy or downright silly not to consider buying in Plumstead.

Either that or the property is being marketed by Gibson Plumb Properties, an agency that specialises in Plumstead properties.

Whatever the reason, it’s not difficult to understand why Plumstead is for many people “the berries”.

For starters, it’s in Cape Town’s sought-after southern suburbs. It’s small and established, the streets are tree-lined and neat, it’s quiet and green, the houses are old and spacious – many having been restored or modernised – and the people are friendly. Furthermore, Plumstead has good shopping amenities and is a hop, skip and a jump from three major roads: the M5, the M3 and Main Road. But what’s really attractive about Plumstead is that it’s affordable and offers good value for money.

There aren’t very many places where you can find anything decent under R1 million – let alone a three-bedroom freehold house with an established garden. Yet this is the norm in Plumstead, according to Averil Brink, the principal of Averil Brink Properties.

In February this year, Brink sold newly-weds Craig and Helourine Seyffert a three-bedroom house (with an office, swimming pool and single tandem garage on a property about 480 square metres in size) for R930 000. It was a steal, especially considering the property was valued at R980 000 in 2006 during the municipal general valuation. Granted, the Seyfferts’ timing was good. Prices have fallen over the past two years. And the seller, who had owned the house for the past 20 years, had an urgent need to downscale and was willing to come down on his asking price of R1.3m.

Brink says this is a fairly typical Plumstead sale. “A lot of buyers are young and starting out, and a lot of sellers are old and moving on.”

According to a suburb analysis by Lightstone, 39 percent of recent sellers in Plumstead are 65 years old or older, and 25 percent of recent buyers are 18 to 35 years old.

In fact, the bulk of buyers in Plumstead (41 percent) are aged 50 to 64 years old. This is perhaps unsurprising considering that Plumstead doesn’t have much to offer by way of schools. There are only two schools in the suburb – John Graham Primary School and Plumstead High School, both of which are government schools.

But for many couples seeking to get into the market, affordability is more important when choosing where to buy. First-time buyers Mickey and Joanne Beley scoured the Peninsula looking for good value before they eventually found a home in Plumstead. They got their house, which has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a single garage, for R1.1m in April. “We bought according to our budget and we looked far and wide – from Strand, Somerset West, Bellville and Durbanville to Lakeside, Southfield and Thornton – although we wanted to live in the southern suburbs, ideally in Wynberg or Plumstead. We had rented in Plumstead years ago, so we know it well and feel very relaxed here,” says Mickey.

“It’s family oriented, and close to the gym and we have to a good range of shopping options – the Pick n Pay in Gabriel Road is a five-minute drive away and Constantia Village is also close by. Plumstead suits our lifestyle,” says Jo.

For outdoorsy people like the Beleys, Plumstead is ideally situated close to the mountains and the sea. Mickey goes trail running and mountain biking in Tokai Forest and paddling in Kalk Bay. And the couple also make good use of the hiking trails in the area.

Both the Beleys’ and the Seyfferts’ houses are on the “right” side of Dick Burton Road – a clear divide in the neighbourhood. Brink says prices fall by about R100k if on the wrong side of Dick Burton, owing in part to the number of council houses in the area. She says the same applies to properties situated between South Road and Southfield Road and to those that border on Wynberg.

Most of the properties in Plumstead are freehold houses – only 29 percent of market stock is in section title schemes.

According to Deeds Office data, over the past three months 50 properties in Plumstead have changed hands: 22 of those sales were in the R800 000 to R1.5 million price band. The average selling price of a property in Plumstead over the past three months was R846 000. There were four properties in the R1.5m to R3m price band.

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