In the area 3 – Somerset West

It may surprise some property trend watchers to know that Somerset West has proved to be a favourite spot for foreigners looking for a South African retreat, holiday or retirement home.

Schalk van der Merwe, manager of Rawson Properties’ Strand/Somerset West franchise, says up to 20% of the clients he deals with are from the UK or Europe, mainly Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

When they do buy, he says, they tend to go for homes priced at above R3 million – and they are almost always complimentary about the good value for money that the area provides. Almost all, he adds, pay cash – they are, in fact, by law allowed a 50% SA bond but very few take advantage of this.

Asked why foreigners might prefer the Helderberg Basin to some of the Peninsula suburbs, van der Merwe said that price is often the deciding factor but the closeness to mountains, wine estates, golf courses and the warm water beaches of the Strand play an important part.

Recently, he added, the increased strength of the rand has slowed down sales to European and Brits but he is confident that summer and the 2010 World Cup will once again see an influx of pale skinned northerners looking for a spot in the sun.

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