Friday, 1 October 2010

Strand Beach Road sales pick up

The Strand Beach Road property market has showed positive signs contrary to the general SA sectional title market during the 2008/9 period with growing sales figures since the latter part of 2009 – comparative to the depressed sales of the 2008/9 period

Benhard Wiese, principal associate of Cape Coastal Homes, says these better-than-national sectional title sales figures are attributable to the area offering much better value per square metre than the similar property offerings on e।g. the Cape Atlantic seaboard.

“The buyers interested in Strand Beach Road are also buying with a long term view – mostly viewing the property as their second home to be converted into their retirement home.”

He says only 7% of the registered sales of apartments older than three years on Beach Road have during 2010 been for less than present comparative property values per sqm – a sign of a solid market that escaped the storms of 2008/9 relatively unscathed.

“The availability and affordability of credit coupled with the surplus of available new development apartments on Beach Road since 2007 had suppressed capital growth during 2008 to 2010. According to CMA Info, there had been 46 sales in Strand Beach Road during 2008 - that is about four sales per month.”

The volume of sales, however (excluding inheritance), during 2009 grew to 86 transactions of which 25 were new developments and 61 were older complexes.

Excluding all new developments registered in the Deeds Office, there was still a growth in sales volume of about 37% from 2008 to 2009 on Strand Beach Road - totally contrary to statistics from SAPTG which indicate that nationally sectional title (apartment) property priced between R300k to R5m reported an overall decline of 39% in transfers between 2008 and 2009.

The average price per sqm for the 61 registered sales in 2009 for all apartments older than four years on Strand Beach Road (i.e. excluding the new developments which occurred at a higher average price per sq/m) was about R12,900/sqm whilst the new developments registered average prices in 2009 was R17,725/sqm.

The first semester of 2010 has seen a continuation of the growing sales trend on Strand Beach Road with 41 sales being registered according to SAPTG in the Deeds Office of which 14 were new developments built since 2008 (e.g. Hibernian Towers and Topaz).

The average price per sqm for the registered sales in the first semester of 2010 for all apartments older than four years on Strand Beach Road (i.e. excluding the new developments) was about R13,462/sqm.

The new developments average registered prices in 2010 have been ranging between R12,686/sqm for Ocean View to R23,225/sqm for Topaz.He says total registered sales for the first semester of 2010 for the 4 new developments on Strand Beach Road had been R30,524,151 at an average of R15,439 for the 1977sqm sold. That is about 13% lower than the average registered sales prices achieved for new developments during 2009 of R17,725 per sqm.

Interestingly enough, there has only been about a 13% difference in average prices obtained (registered) between older apartments and new developments (less than four years old) during 2010. The present price structure of Beach Road properties can be roughly categorised in different groups according to "age, finishes and size".

The smaller the apartment, the higher the price achieved per sqm. The quality of sea view also has a big effect on the property’s value.Prices obtained in 2008 varied between R7,600/sqm (Strandsig) to R24,700/sqm (Cape Sands). The apartment prices in 2009 varied between R8,500 per sqm (Welgelegen and Jacomahof) to R23,900 per sqm (Hibernian Towers). Beach front apartments were selling in 2003 from about R6k/sqm to about R9k per sqm.

Beach Road property in general has not been subjected to the same forces which have been experienced in e.g. the buy-to let investor property sectors where capital growth has seen fairly substantial drops. The growing foreclosure or bank repossessions trend created during 2008/9 and during the first semester of 2010 effected a strong downward pressure on prices obtained in the buy-to-let property market.

Some auctions at the entry level investor sectional title market (priced at up to R450k) have towards the end of 2009 seen prices drop by as much as 50% of what was the perceived value of the property in 2007. Auctions on Beach Road have, however, been a very small part of the transactional horizon and were therefore not a distinct negative capital growth factor at all.

Only a few distressed sales in some of the new developments took place – without any real effect on the rest of the older blocks, where most of the owners opted to keep their apartments from the market – especially if they did not need to sell.

From the 27 sales which had been registered in the Deeds Office during the first months of 2010, only two transactions took place at prices which seem to be much lower than other comparative properties per sqm – a Romilly apartment at R8,426/sqm and an apartment in Strandsig at R7,432/sqm.Only 7% of all transactions on Beach Road during 2010 amongst the older-than-4-year-old apartment blocks had been registered for much lower than comparative market value.

The last two years has been a sobering period for all property owners in the country – including Beach Road Strand. The unrealistic capital growth expectations have been tempered to pre-2003 growth levels.

Although apartment prices got far “out of touch” with incomes levels during the boom, it is to be expected that inflation will in the next few years close this gap considerably.

“Strand Beach Road has during the last few decades always operated on an eight to ten year tide pattern – with surges of new developments coming every eight to ten years. Buyers who are waiting for Beach Road prices to drop are doing it at their own peril,” he concluded.

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