Coastal Zoom towns attract more buyers

    One of the key property trends arising from the Covid Lockdowns has been a renewed interest in property in small towns and coastal villages where people can enjoy more of a lifestyle closer to home while still observing the necessary health and safety protocols.

    These have become known as “Zoom towns”, coined in the USA, but also a trend observed in South Africa. According to Wikipedia, a Zoom town is a community which experiences a notable increase in population as remote work becomes more popular, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    South Africa has a wealth of small country and coastal towns to choose from which is benefiting from the remote working trend, says Samuel Seeff, chairman of the Seeff Property Group. Where we would have expected that sales in the small coastal towns would basically come to a standstill given the economic decline, we are seeing the opposite, he adds.

    According to a recent Lightstone study, coastal towns also seem to be enjoying slightly better price growth compared to inland areas.

    Aside from the water sport, the coastal towns offer a great outdoor lifestyle, often with golf and other amenities, cycling or just walking your dog in relative safety.

    Hermanus is for example rising in popularity with out of towners who now make up 70% of all sales, according to Paul Kruger, licensee for Seeff Hermanus. Already popular for second homes, the town is now a hot spot for remote workers and semigrating families who can enjoy a cosmopolitan coastal lifestyle, access to the beautiful Hemel en Aarde Wine Valley and top class facilities and great schools. Although prices can reach into the upper millions for a luxury home, you can still find apartments from around R1 million and houses from around R1,8 million.

    Langebaan, an hour from Cape Town, is a popular weekend bolthole and second home destinations for Capetonians, says Jaco Coetzee, a senior agent from Seeff West Coast. It is a great base given the proximity to Cape Town, Saldanha, Vredenburg and sales are “booming”. You can find fabulous apartments in Mykonos from around R900,000 and houses from around R1,7 million.

    The Struisbaai/Agulhas area is more secluded but alluring for the white-washed fisherman-architecture and location on the southernmost point of the African continent. Richard Pratt, Seeff’s manager for the areas says the market is doing well. Although prices have reached as much as R5,1m in Agulhas and R8,5m in Struisbaai, you can still find apartments from R1,2 million and houses from around R2 million, often with sea views or close proximity to the beaches.

    While the KZN North Coast has been receiving a lot of attention, small towns along the Mid-South and Hibiscus Coast such as Amanzimtoti, Pennington, Ramsgate and Margate are also attracting attention, not just from upcountry buyers, but even those who work in Durban.

    Prices are more accessible here and the proximity to Durban and the King Shaka International Airport are important contributors to the demand, says Ms Jo Giraudeau, Operations Manager for Seeff KZN Mid-South Coast.

    For under R1,5 million you can for example buy a small house in Pennington, a three-bedroomed townhouse in Amanzimtoti or a three-bedroomed apartment or townhouse with a private garden in Ramsgate or Margate.

    She says there are great schools and facilities including great golf in Pennington with two superb 18-hole courses (Umdoni and Selborne) and the 9-hole Pen Valley, mountain biking trails at Rocky Bay and horse riding at Umdoni and more.

    Author: Gina Meintjes
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