People are tired of the word “recession” and the slump has only just started. Experts predict that we have over 18 months of hard times ahead of us, which is pretty gloomy no matter how you look at it. The property market has been particularly hard hit by the credit crisis, as people battle to buy and sell property amid raising inflation, monumental interest rates and basic consumer uncertainty. But according to some property insiders, the Western Cape, especially the Cape West Coast is still a home-owner magnet, attracting buyers with its peace and quiet, as well its natural beauty.
For decades people from all over South Africa, indeed all over the world, have made the Western Cape their de facto holiday destination. The white beaches, summer sunshine and relaxed pace are the perfect panacea to those hurried by the constant grind of the rat race. But now, more people are choosing to make little towns and coastal villages, such as Yzerfontein, Paternoster and Darling their homes, as they commute for up to an hour and a half to get back to the city for work.
The reason so many people are prepared to spend nearly three hours of their day on the road is peace of mind. Traditionally, houses in these semi-remote towns are far more affordable than property in the big city, with ocean views your for R2 million ($182,150), compared to Cape Town’s southern suburbs, where an ocean view can cost upwards of R5 million ($455,375). As more people migrate to far lying districts, however, it’s reasonable to expect property prices to go up, markedly.
Low crime rates, especially violent crimes, such as murder, aggravated assault and rape are also an important point of attraction for city dwellers tired of living in fear. Schooling is also generally good, but more important than that is the safe and relatively trouble-free environment in which parents can raise their children. Drugs, which are unfortunately everywhere, are still not as prevalent, or easily accessible as in big cities. Gangs are few and far between, especially violent gangs, and parents can be reasonably sure that their children won’t have to listen to gun shots or wailing sirens as they try to sleep at night.
The primary reason that people, especially young families trying to make a start in life, are abandoning city-life in favour of country living is quality of life. With less stress, less crime and housing tariffs that don’t break the bank, it’s no wonder that the West Coast is thriving.