From a lifestyle perspective, the area offers an exceptional beachfront recreational heritage, with a large variety of popular restaurants, coffee bars and nightclubs. Being a highly desirable kitesurfing location frequented by regular international kite surfers, the beachfront hosts some of the most prestigious events on the world competitive kitesurfing calendar.
Residential property opportunities are presented in the form of approximately one hundred sectional title apartment blocks, with several thousand individual units, along a beachfront strip of less than a few kilometers. Demand for these properties has traditionally been high, with a large component of, live-in residents as well as investors with the intentions of generating additional income through property ownership. The burgeoning Airbnb market of the pre-COVID-19 era produced a remarkable demand for these properties, which drove a steady increase in property values and high sales volumes. It was not unusual for properties in the area to be sold unseen by the buyer. However, due to the regulation of the Airbnb industry, as well as the advent of the early 2020 COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on travel, it soon became clear that the Airbnb industry was under pressure, and owners of second properties in this area began to notice that their returns on their investment were not what they expected. The demand for second properties along the beachfront began to show a slowing down.
The sudden emergence of the Omicron variant in late 2021 and the red listing of South Africa by almost the entire European community caused an abrupt exodus of foreign visitors. With that, came a further blow to the Airbnb industry in the area, with an almost 100% cancellation rate of planned foreign festive season visitors. The lifting of the restrictions shortly afterwards has done little to stimulate the market that was already suffering from a slowdown.
The property market in this beachfront area has stuttered into 2022 with some noticeable characteristics, where properties on the market at prices equivalent to those before COVID-19, are simply not being sold as quickly as sellers have anticipated. Serious sellers are well aware that their properties need to be priced in line with what the market will bear, for them to expect a sale within a reasonable timeframe of going to market. Buyers and investors are doing their homework, and are aware of the choices that the market currently presents, and it is not unusual for suitably qualified buyers considering more than a dozen options before making their decision. Competition is fierce, and buyers are spoiled for choice.
Serious sellers have had to realise that overpricing their property is doing themselves no favors and that they need to offer their property at a price that the buyers will positively respond to.
On the positive side, beachfront properties of all shapes and sizes on the Blouberg beachfront will remain in high demand, well into the future, and positive long term investment returns will always be realised.