A recent survey by a leading SA estate agency has shown that there is almost nothing like an uninterrupted sea view to enhance the value of a property.

“In most cases it can add up to 50 to 100% to the value of a home,” says Lanice Steward, managing director of Anne Porter Knight Frank (APKF).

“Almost identical properties in the same area without views, or with only partial views, sell for far less.”

Steward said that originally the survey had set out to investigate whether houses with sea views were appreciating faster than others.

That, they found, was not the case: the appreciation rate of most Greater Cape Town areas – including those said to be crime-risks or in other ways less desirable – had been more or less uniform at 11% to 12% over the last year – but the base cost of homes with a sea view and flats was always from the outset well above that of units without them.

“If you are looking for a good investment go for a sea view property, especially one with upgrade potential,” says Steward.

Thanks to Property 24 for this information.

Moving to the Seaside

A sea view will multiply the value of your property

Some are committed coastal Dwellers, others prefer the seaside as a holiday destination. There are pros and cons to life near the ocean wave but, increasingly, the demographics of those who’re heading seawards is altering.

Worldwide, coastal properties in the right location have always been on everybody’s envy list, both for the perceived lifestyle of barefoot and carefree, as well as for the investment value.

Limited availability will always equate to increased desirability, so those properties not only hold their own, but sky rocket in value. Investment and lifestyle associated with coastal living in South Africa is not quite as clear cut as it is in, say, the south of France but, still, it’s no secret that sectors like the Atlantic Seaboard properties have drawn international investors and high-profile celebrity sun-seekers, and values have been off the property Richter scale.

Questions to ask before you buy…

If you have a sea view, can it be blocked? Is the asking price in line with that of other properties in the area?

What are the realistic rentals being achieved, and how can you ensure you’re renting to the right calibre of person?

If buying in an estate, do the body-corporate rules allow holiday letting?

What about your letting company? Uncover its modus operandi, costs and precisely what their ‘management’ of your home entails.

If you’re in an estate, is the maintenance included? What about garden services?

And if you plan to rent it out, is security tight enough? Will the property be safe and secure when it’s unoccupied?

Is furniture included in the sale price? Holiday homes are often sold complete with furniture and the price should be calculated separately (on a market-related basis) so as not to push up the property’s sale price, on which transfer will be paid. In addition, banks don’t take the value of the furniture into consideration if you are applying for a bank loan, points out Greta Daniel, national sales and operations manager for Pam Golding Franchise Services. Likewise, she adds, ‘Any rental income has to be declared for tax purposes, so keep an accurate record of income and expenditure.’

Coastal home buyers fall into two main categories, with variations on the theme: owners who buy holiday beach cottages or apartments for their own use or to syndicate with friends or family, and/or for renting out when they’re not being used; and those who love the sea, loathe the city, and choose the laid-back coastal lifestyle as a permanent one. They’ve often spent time in a particular coastal town and holidayed there regularly, so they know the area, the lifestyle and the pros and cons, and even have friends living there.

Often the decision is almost spontaneous, when, after one wonderful holiday, the beach life looks so much more appealing than the gritty one they’re currently enduring. They fall in love with a cottage, and sign on the dotted line. Some do it as a longer-term prospect to let out while they arrange their lives around this move, or until the children finish school; others want it to happen immediately. Some have had an unpleasant city experience – usually crime related – and believe that small-town coastal living offers the escape to something less stressful and more manageable.

Myles Wakefield of Wakefields Real Estate in KwaZulu-Natal suggests that holidaymakers should not be swept away by the carefree holiday spirit when making decisions about permanently living at the coast or buying a holiday home. That sense of freedom is beguiling, but it should be tempered by solid investigative homework. Location is always vital, but when planning to let out your holiday cottage, it’s crucial to supply what’s demanded by holidaymakers. Get honest figures as to the rentals are being achieved, and ascertain whether the area is entirely seasonal.

In many KwaZulu-Natal coastal hot spots, for example, holiday letting is less seasonal. Think it through. The sought-after aspects are position first and foremost, with sea views and direct or easy beach access being important considerations.

The laid-back lifestyle is the reason buyers choose the coast. It offers everything the city doesn’t… and that’s the appeal. Life’s pleasures become sunsets, walks on the beach, fishing, surfing, nature and community. One little South Coast holiday town has a tradition of sundowners on the beach at 5pm – everyone welcome.

As Simon Olivier, Seeff principal for Eastern Cape coastal villages, says, ‘Coastal life means a lifestyle change from the city’s endless forms of entertainment. Here, you need to get involved in the village, make a contribution and get to know people with similar interests. More often than not, you find yourself busier down here making a difference than you were in the big city. But make sure you choose an environment you’re going to fit into. Test it out first; rent, mingle, snoop.’

There is, of course, a significant difference in every respect between buying a little cottage or unit in a tiny, reasonably remote seaside village, and buying a luxury sea-view or beachside apartment or home, 10 minutes’ from the metropolis that holds your office. Both offer the joys of sea views, walks on the beach, perhaps dolphin and whale sightings, water sports and that sense of permanent holiday that the sea seems to evoke. But they’re not the same at all.

The one barely requires a lifestyle adjustment, the other does. Employment can be scarce and salaries lower, so frequently coastal dwellers are entrepreneurs, work remotely via the Internet, are artists or writers, retirees or commuters. When you buy, consider your need for proximity to a city or a local or international airport.

Purchasing a property as a holiday home and letting it out in between your holidays or during peak season to top up the bond or pay the rates and maintenance is a popular choice. Even if you live there permanently, leaving the madding crowd is common – that little town can be less quaint when hordes of holidaymakers descend biannually, block access to your property or create a traffic jam in a town without the appropriate infrastructure, and your local restaurant has given away your favourite table.

It’s said that cost of living is lower at the coast, but the cost of house maintenance is higher – and that includes boats and cars – because of sea air and rust. For new buildings – particularly in gated estates – architects are employing innovative designs and building materials – including face-brick, glass, stainless steel and stone cladding – designed to combat the ravages of sea air, wind and weather. When buying an elderly property, it is best to look at materials that will reduce yourlong-term maintenance costs and headaches.

Always bear in mind that managing a property long distance is onerous. Put measures in place to cope with the tenant who phones about the leaking geyser, rusted security gates and TV that goes on the blink because of humidity or sea air.

To read further please go to Real Estate Magazine