Are you are the type of South African that laughed at the president’s penis or were less outraged than foreigners at the Lonmin massacre? If so, then you’re probably the die-hard local kind i mentioned earlier. Are you’re looking to retire but worry because your pension was depleted by the Recession? Are you a middle-class European or American wanting to live like a king or queen? Do you simply want to escape the city so that your family can picnic on the beach or hike in the forests on the weekend? Then Knysna is for you!
Knysna is the prettiest town in South Africa. There are few places that can boast forests, beaches, lakes and a sea within a few kilometres. That the centre offers approximately 60 restaurants, 4 shopping centres and several waterfronts is almost unbelievable. It’s a favourite holiday spot for Capetonians. Many foreigners, especially the Germans and Dutch, have made repeated trips here. Despite a lot of holiday homes standing empty, the fact is that they were the chosen second home for many before travel costs jumped and bonds became overbonded.
There are now great deals to take advantage of!
Peter Southey, from Rawson Properties, recently said that property prices are “25% to 40% off their previous peak levels” which sounds a lot more like truth than previous reports. If anything, overpriced homes are nearer realistic value. A retiree i chatted to last week said that her and her husband had always loved Knysna but never expected to be able to afford a retirement here let alone live on Leisure Island, one of the most prime suburbs. But, over 2 years, the price on a house they had admired (on holiday) dropped over 50% resulting in them now living their dream.
Another encounter had the buyer relate to me how they bought a farm after offering 25% less than the asking price and stating that it must remain fully furnished. That the sellers took the offers indicates that they were long on the market, infinitely longer than turnaround times of 4-6 months that had previously been reported. I’ve know houses to stand for 4 years. On Thesen Island, which is as well and beautifully located as you can possibly get, properties wait for up to 18 months.
Remember that the estate agent is representing the seller, not you. Have several options and then bargain hard. Get information on the ground. Chat to the local security company, neighbours etc. Especially have conversations in coffee shops. Find out what the rates are! One poor couple fought for 7 months to get there property value lowered by an erroneous R7 million.
Auctions are tragic to the victims of the Recession but an unbelievable boon to opportunity seekers. There have been incredible deals in the middle-class sector. In one case, there was no movement so the bank bought the house at 29% of the market value. In a gated community, two flats (2 and 3 bedroom) went for R250 000 each. And if you need to stock up on home appliances and furniture, then checkout the classifieds, Actions Ads, for the smaller auctions which occur almost weekly (grab on Thursday, day of release, as they are sometimes only advertized the day before).
As with my other blogs here, the goal is to cut through the bullshit and deliver the truth which the powers that be and the media here so often hide. The more information you have, the better you can decide what’s best for you and your family.
If i got a wish fulfilled, it would definitely be for Knysna’s empty houses to get filled with neighbours…and proactive neighbours would build better, safer communities.