In the area 2 – Strand

Homebuyers looking for bargains have put a damper on new development in the Western Cape coastal town of Strand, but there is no shortage of home sales at the moment.

So says Jacques Nortier, owner of the new Aida franchise in the town, who notes that the town is attracting many new residents as a result of work by the local authority to “clean up” Beach Road, pave sidewalks, keep the beach clean and put in new landscaping.

“As a result there is a whole new ambience along Beach Rd, with new coffee shops, art galleries, gift stores and clothing outlets opening up. Crime in the neighbourhood has also gone down dramatically and visitors and residents can now feel safe here.”

As for the real estate market, he says: “The media has done a lot to educate buyers, who are now much more aware of the possibility of buying a distressed or repossessed property, or a property on auction, and making big savings.

“Developers are losing out as this trend grows, especially among investors but also among family buyers who are now also often choosing to purchase an older home which is perhaps bigger or comes at a lower price instead of a new home in a smart development that is smaller or more expensive.

“This is a very different situation from that about four years ago, when buyers were snapping up new units in Strand and the owners of older properties were having to modernise them quite extensively in order to get them sold.”

Currently, he says, the properties in highest demand to buy and to rent in Strand are family homes in the R700 000 to R1,6m range, close to the beach.

Another exciting aspect of the local market, he says, is that the banks have come back to the table and are even offering 100% bonds once again to borrowers with good credit ratings. There are also a variety of financing options that are proving very attractive to first-time buyers.

“However, the banks are being very careful about the value of properties on which they approve loans, and overpriced developments are valued accordingly, sometimes making it impossible for a sale to be finalised.”

On the other hand, though, developers with surplus stock are doing very well in the rental market, as tenants enjoy renting modern units in secure complexes – and this is a sector of the market where the new Aida franchise is also very active.

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