If anyone needed confirmation that municipal management is an increasingly important issue for homeowners and buyers, it would be easy to find in the recent property sales records for the pretty towns along the Western Cape coast that fall into the Overstrand and Cape Agulhas municipalities.
These two local authorities were recently named as the best performers on the News24 Out of Order Index, and are also among only seven of more than 280 local authorities in SA to have achieved a clean audit for more than four years, according to the Auditor-General’s 2019/20 report.
Overstrand, which includes the towns of Hermanus, Gansbaai and Kleinmond, has actually registered clean audits for the past eight years, and Cape Agulhas has done the same for the past seven years.
“And homebuyers have actually been voting with their feet and moving here from all over the country for some time now,” says Strepies van Wyk, principal of Chas Everitt Cape Agulhas, which operates in Struisbaai, Napier, Arniston and L’Agulhas as well as Bredasdorp.
“This is not about politics, it is about the benefits of living in our well-run towns, where public funds are used to maintain and improve infrastructure, security and the overall quality of life for residents. These benefits have clearly become increasingly important to property owners and buyers and are a much bigger factor in home purchase decisions now than they used to be. Then of course we have unspoilt beaches, beautiful scenery and nature reserves just to add to the attraction.
“In the past year especially, we have experienced an exceptionally buoyant market and property price increases of up to 25% in some areas. We have sold several well-priced properties within a day of listing them, and we are now seeing increasingly rare seafront stands selling for R5m and more.
“Ocean views are definitely at a premium here, and most buyers relocating from inland choose a coastal location. But there are also some excellent and more affordable buying opportunities inland, and just a short drive from the sea, and sales in these areas are also increasing rapidly now.”
According to the latest statistics from property data company Lightstone, there have been scores of property transfers in the Cape Agulhas towns over the past 12 months, with a total value of more than R969m.
These are shown in the accompanying table: