In the area 1 – Blouberg

The economic downturn has seen a shift in property trends

Blouberg, an area in the Cape renowned for its great views of Table Mountain and still relatively affordable property, seems to be chartering a course towards the top rung of the property ladder.

Taking a closer look at the property market, Fanie Lategan, principal of Chas Everitt Western Seaboard, says that while sales are down on last year, the market is still buoyant compared to other areas of Cape Town. “The challenge,” he says, “lies with the banks’ strict credit policies meaning only about one third of home loan applications are approved.”

The rental market in Blouberg is extremely buoyant. “This,” says Lategan, “is due to the fact that people are struggling to get bonds, which is forcing them to rent rather than buy.” He says rentals between R3000 and R5000 per month are in high demand, with homes closer to the beach renting for about R10 000 per month.

Deon Lessing, marketing director at Betterbond, South Africa’s largest bond originator, agrees with Lategan saying originators are also experiencing difficulties even though they are working hard to get bonds approved. “But,” says Lessing, “it is encouraging to note that the number of bonds granted by the banks is on the increase, with the ratio between bonds submitted and bonds granted steadily improving.”

Average selling prices for Blouberg property on the other hand range from around R900 000 in Parklands to R2-million in Big Bay. Lategan says entry level prices are still below R500 000 but some properties close to the beach are on the market for R20-million plus.

“The contraction of the market has once again brought about more apparent value for investors and buyers,” says Lessing who goes on to say that value can still be found in the market and excellent property opportunities await the astute investor.

Factors that are set to stimulate the Blouberg market even further, in Lategan’s view, include the rapid transport system currently being rolled out in the area, which he believes will have a significant impact on area and alleviate traffic problems. “It will contribute to the area’s popularity and provide easy and convenient access to the Cape Town CBD,” he says.

Going forward, Lategan says that Blouberg is expected to become a natural extension of the of Camps Bay, Clifton and Bantry Bay lifestyle due to its far greater affordability and location on the Atlantic Ocean.

“Blouberg/Parklands are the most significant growth areas close to the Cape Town CBD. They offer affordable property and are therefore popular with young families. Blouberg is also a popular tourist destination with spectacular views of Table Mountain and one of the best kite surfing beaches in the world,” Lategan says. “I think we have seen the worst and I expect the market to turn in the latter part of the year and continue to improve substantially during 2010 - depending on the banks’ credit policy,” he concludes.

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