What defines a luxury home in today’s world?

Own your own private island retreat

While the concept of ‘luxury’ means a variety of things to different people when it comes to their primary residence – particularly since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing levels of lockdown – there are several key factors that buyers seek when buying a luxury home.

And, says Tania Smit, who heads up Pam Golding Auctions, perhaps the most important of these is the lifestyle afforded by a luxury home, especially as many people are now, following the need for social distancing, placing health and generous indoor/outdoor areas for exercise, family activities and work spaces at the top of their priority lists.

Says Smit: “As the remote working trend continues and even gathers momentum, highly desirable, secure locations are garnering increasing interest among homebuyers, as evidenced by our auctions to date which are seeing luxury homes in the price range from approximately R5 million upwards achieving solid, market-related prices in a broad range of sought-after destinations which offer highly appealing lifestyles.

“Of note is that homes in secure, lifestyle estates retain their ongoing attraction, especially those with sizeable outdoor spaces, amenities, cutting edge technology, security and eco-friendly and energy-saving features.”

Says Linda Nunes, Pam Golding Properties agent at Eagle Canyon Golf Estate in Johannesburg West: “I find that the majority of buyers are looking for the peace of mind that comes with the security and lifestyle this estate offers, coupled with value for money. More modern homes and homes that require little or no work are becoming more sought out in comparison to those that have become somewhat dated and need to be refreshed or renovated.  As a result, these contemporary homes are fetching higher prices as buyers are prepared to pay for the convenience of simply moving in versus having to make improvements. Triple garages and garden areas are also in demand and often become the differentiator for certain homes being chosen over others.

“Currently, and according to Lightstone statistics, the average selling price for freehold properties on this estate is R5.5 million, however, we are experiencing a recovery this year with a shortage of stock starting to drive prices upwards again, and we are seeing more transactions taking place in the R10 million price range – as long as prices are market-related according to the current economic environment.”

With easy access to highways and the only golf estate in Johannesburg West close to the CBD, in Eagle Canyon Estate, proximity to the main gate and residents gate, clubhouse and parks add to the appeal. The estate itself is in an area with numerous schools, shopping amenities and a good choice of restaurants close by, all factors which contribute to a convenient, luxury lifestyle. A home which is expected to arouse interest on Pam Golding Auctions forthcoming online auction on 24 March, and with bids starting from R19 million, is a luxurious five-bedroom (all en-suite), six-bathroom home on Eagle Canyon Estate on a large erf of 1 987sqm with flatlet option and double staff accommodation, adjacent to a green belt. Apart from its exceptional architectural styling and décor, it includes expansive lounges, a bar and basement cellar and a basement entertainment and cinema room.

Lauren Meyer, Pam Golding Properties agent in Port Alfred, concurs with Nunes regarding priorities for luxury home buyers: “Some of the key factors of luxury homes here include good security, an exclusive lifestyle offering and proximity to either the beach or river. We have seen an increase in clients looking to work from home, thereby requiring a study or similar.”

The luxury market in Port Alfred typically includes homes priced from R3.5 million and upwards, with the most popular between R3.5 million and R5 million in the luxury market – where Port Alfred offers excellent value in comparison to other similar coastal or metro areas.

Own your own private island retreat

Says Meyer: “As an example of value, we currently have a unique opportunity to own your own island in prestigious Royal Alfred Marina. On auction on 24 March through Pam Golding Auctions, the bidding for the 3 863sqm Lady Hamilton Island starts at R3.9 million. Comprising mostly vacant land, with an existing cottage, swimming pool, tennis court, two private deep-water jetties, established treed garden and 24-hour manned security including CCTV cameras and guardhouse, this property has incredible potential for anyone wanting an idyllic retreat in a secure, sought after the environment. This is easy living with peace of mind to relax and enjoy fishing, boating, golf, surfing and beach activities on tap.”

Due to the excellent security – including canal and street patrols and electric perimeter fencing, spectacular lifestyle with overall privacy and tranquillity, the Royal Alfred Marina remains a steady favourite amongst homebuyers in the luxury price brackets. It’s easily accessible via the ocean, river and road, with each home having at least 15m of private water frontage and access to its own private jetty. The Kowie River, navigable for 27 kilometres, is enjoyed for its fishing and other recreational prospects, and during Covid in particular homeowners were afforded the luxury of some of these recreational activities despite curfews and restrictions, from the comfort of their homes.

Adds Meyer: “We have definitely experienced an uptick in our market post-Covid hard lockdown with 2020 having been one of our most successful years to date. This, we believe, is due to coastal semigration and the manner in which homeowners, buyers and just people alike have been afforded a new perception of their work places, lifestyles and the overall cost of living. The favourable interest rates at the moment have also driven our sales up significantly within the past year and we have seen a large number of tenant-to-homeowner conversions. There’s also marked interest in the top end of the market and we have within the last few weeks alone concluded transactions to the value of almost R20 million as Port Alfred currently offers great value for money and investment potential to discerning buyers.”

In Franschhoek, Pam Golding Properties agent Jeanine Allen says that quality, style and sophistication in a safe environment – in areas that rewards long term investment, epitomise key aspects for luxury home buyers in this scenic, globally renowned Cape Winelands town.

Echoing Meyer’s words, Allen says: “Here, the location is very important in terms of views, security, privacy and tranquillity. Everyone has their own taste and there is something for everyone, from security complexes, estates and freehold residences to smallholdings sought after by families relocating in pursuit of space in secure environs, as well as a growing demand from local buyers also wanting more space and outdoor activity options for their families. Luxury homes are priced from approximately R8 million while lifestyle holdings range from the region of R20 million to R50 million and upwards.

“Interestingly, at present, we see mostly local buyers whereas in recent years foreign investors used to dominate the market, buying apartments for holiday accommodation. Now young couples are looking here to work from home, however, prices are generally not sufficiently accessible to stimulate this market segment, or to attract more price-sensitive buyers. On the other hand, we are experiencing high demand for lifestyle farms and top-end homes, and currently have for sale on the forthcoming auction a six-bedroom house with an opening bid price of R4.7 million, ideally located on award-winning Fransche Hoek Estate. A great value property just five minutes from the village, this home offers dual living with two kitchens and two lounges on separate floors.”

In Durban, Pam Golding Properties agent Norah Lane says in the luxury market, from R5 million to R8 million and above, luxury homes in demand are in move-in condition and need to have the latest top-quality finishes, good indoor/outdoor flow, attractive entertainment areas and sufficient work from home space, as well as generous parking. “Features which add appeal, particularly since Covid, are home entertainment facilities including a gym and cinema room, office space, school room and space in general, as larger, freestanding homes became more attractive during a lockdown. However, homes that are not realistically priced will not sell.

“Key areas which are most sought after are Upper Morningside – namely Mentone, Eastbourne and Sir Arthur Roads – locations always convenient in close proximity to top schools, freeways and other amenities, and where the stands are larger. Upper Glenwood is also popular, attracting many medical people as a number of hospitals surround this quiet, leafy suburb. Bowes-Lyon Avenue, Princess Alice, Lamont Road and Sir Duncan to name a few roads, are much in demand and enjoy scenic harbour views. Situated close to the University high up in Glenwood, on established terraced gardens and with sweeping views of the stadium, city, harbour and ocean is a five-bedroom home with all bedrooms opening onto a large balcony with jacuzzi, on auction with bids to start from R3.2 million. It includes a self-contained guest suite with kitchenette, large games room, heated swimming pool, uninterruptible power supply, staff accommodation, two double garages plus secure parking for four cars.”

Source: SA Property Insider

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