MARKET conditions are just right to invest in the George leisure market, realtors say. And if money is no object you could land even yourself an ultra-luxurious beachfront house with private lift and cinema that overlooks Glentana beach for the "bargain" price of R18-million.
At the height of the market this property would have commanded an asking price of around R25-million, about 40% more than the current asking price.
At the existing price it offers unparalleled value, says Pieter Jordaan of Seeff, the real estate company marketing the home.
The plot is 824m² and the house itself was designed by well-known Pretoria architect Chris Pattichides for indoor and outdoor entertainment. Given the perfect location, the design takes full advantage of the stunning sea views.
It offers 967m² under-roof and is built over three levels. The basement entertainment level includes a 10-seater cinema, a temperature- controlled wine cellar with storage for 4000 bottles and an adjacent dining area, pantry and walk-in fridge and freezer, and even a gymnasium and luggage room.
The living area on the ground level includes a lounge, diningroom, sun room, braai room and a Snaidero custom-designed kitchen with Gaggenau appliances, a pantry and scullery.
This area then opens to an outdoor terrace overlooking the garden and heated swimming pool, while water features flank the house.
Five bedrooms each with a dressing room, en-suite bathroom and private balcony are located on the first floor along with a study.
The property also includes garaging for four vehicles, under-floor heating, a dehumidifying system, air conditioning, automated energy-saving lighting, state-of-the-art sound, Wi-Fi connectivity, high-tech security and a C-Bus system that controls all electronic devices remotely.
Nestled between the Outeniqua Pass and the beautiful beaches of the Southern Cape, George has long been a popular holiday and retirement destination. It remains one of the prestigious areas to own property due to its location in the heart of the Garden Route, top class golf courses and infrastructure and an international airport with direct flights from the major centres in SA.
Buyers at the top end of the market have excellent options to choose from, whether looking for prime beachfront properties like the Glentana one or perhaps a spacious golf estate home.
"At the height of the market in 2007/8, leisure property prices in the area were at their peak," says Jordaan. "Following this we had about a three-year lull during which most sellers were still setting their sights too high for what the market could bear."
Most agents operating along the Garden Route will agree much effort has since gone into "counselling" sellers on realistic market-related pricing, he adds. "Towards the second half of last year, we saw a shift in seller attitude towards a greater willingness to price more in line with current market dynamics."
Jordaan adds that prices in particularly the top end of the market have come down by between 30% and 40% from their 2007/8 highs.
Market conditions are now especially favourable for leisure investors, he says.
"We have already seen more energy in the residential and lower end of the retirement and leisure market in the last year, with buyer inquiries up by about 40% on previous years."
Last year about 2593 units sold in the George area to the total value of R1.76-billion; mostly still in the sub-R1.5-million price band. The area has seen an influx of buyers from Gauteng and the Free-State – mostly family and older buyers looking to relocate.
There has also been a notable increase in the demand for rental properties at rates of up to R7000 a month.
In addition, there seems to be renewed interest among developers to explore the potential for secure retirement developments.
Demand for golf and security estates has picked up and, as prices have remained static since about 2008, buyers are finding good value.