In the area 1 – Melkbosstrand


Residential property prices in the Cape West Coast town of Melkbosstrand have proved to be far more resilient than those of most towns, not only in the Cape but throughout South Africa, says Lynette de Lange, who is one of three agents serving the Dave and Ann Marie Evans-owned Rawson Properties franchise which serves Melkbosstrand, Duynefontein and Riebeeckstrand.

“The prices of homes sold by this agency,” she said, “have all been well within 10% of the peaks reached in 2007 and early 2008.”

This, she thinks, is partly because some 30% of the 10,000 inhabitants in the 3,500 homes in the town are retirees who have no need to sell unless they can get a high price and partly because others who have listed their properties with Rawson Properties are in many cases “just testing the water”, i.e. they are not serious sellers.

“We have 110 homes on our stock list and I would estimate that only some 50 or 60 have to be sold within the near future,” said de Lange. “It is interesting to note that these are the ones which are always more or less correctly priced.”

Prices at Melkbosstrand, she added, tend to vary considerably.

“Homes with a sea view here can easily cost R2 million to R4 million. Flats within sight of the sea go for as much as R2 million. However, 100 metres or more inland it is still possible to find houses priced from R1,2 million to R1,6 million and flats priced as low as R700,000. These can be great buys for retirees or young couples wanting to keep part of their nest egg intact.”

The relatively high prices, said de Lange, are due to Melkbosstrand, more than most rural towns, retaining its charm despite acquiring modern retail centres and having a primary and pre-primary school, restaurants and office complexes.

“This is still an area where the gardens are very carefully maintained, mature palm trees grow along the street verges, the beach and the fishing spots are unspoilt and many of the houses still have a genuine West Coast ambience. People who settle here very seldom want to move on.”

The main buyers coming into the town, she said, are from Durbanville, Table View, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The only development in the area right now is Melkbosch Village, sited close to the main northbound freeway to Saldanha. Here Rawson Properties, on behalf of Asrin Property Developers, sold all 160 units within 12 to 15 weeks of the 2007 launch. Since then building has got under way and handovers will start in April.

Because a small handful of buyers were unable to get bonds, Rawson Properties are still able to offer a few buyers two bedroom, single floor and duplex apartments (61m2 to 85m2 in size), for prices in the R599,000 to R725,000 range. They are also able to offer them houses at prices starting at R799,000.

De Lange said that although prices in phase two at Melkbosstrand are slightly higher, this too is selling steadily because buyers appreciate that here they will not have to take transfer until mid-2010, by when they confidently expect interest rates will have dropped by a further 2% to 3%.

The Melkbosstrand rental market, she added, is a good one, not only because the town is so popular as a summer and Easter holiday getaway but also because Eskom employees transferred from overseas or upcountry on short and medium term contracts have always taken up a fair percentage of the available rental accommodation, particularly if it is furnished.

“Any buy at Melkbosstrand right now,” said de Lange, “must be a good one because there are clear signs that by the third quarter the property market will be in a far more buoyant phase.”

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