Strong demand for lock-up-and-go living prompts launch of another new residential development in Clarens

Strong demand for lock-up-and-go living prompts launch of another new residential development in Clarens

The site of the new residential development, Quillets, with spectacular mountain views.

After an exceptionally active trading period in December 2017, the new year ushered in a busy start to 2018 for the residential property market in Clarens – a trend which has continued unabated, with strong interest in homes to buy, and a new residential development just launched, says Odette Parris, Pam Golding Properties agent in the area.

Situated in the foothills of the majestic Maluti Mountains and surrounded by the distinctive Rooiberge in the scenic Highlands of the Eastern Free State, Clarens is known for its iconic sandstone mountains and cliffs. The sandstone is also a popular building material used in homes and buildings in the town.

Indicative of the appeal of this country town is that nearly two-thirds (63%) of current home owners have owned their properties for 11 or more years – showing an unusually stable housing market according to Lightstone. Over the past 12 months a number of young adults or first-time buyers are also staking their claim in Clarens.

The majority of Clarens’ housing stock comprises freehold homes (94.96%), with just 22.45% of stock – freehold and sectional title – located within estates, says Sandra Gordon, Pam Golding Properties senior research analyst.

From August 2017 to July 2018 a total of nine homes in estates were sold in Clarens at an average price of R1.42 million. A total of 32 freehold homes were sold at an average price of R1.44m while 16 sectional title homes fetched an average price of R1.13m. During this period a total of 34 vacant plots were sold – 16 in estates at an average price of R337 000 and 18 plots outside estates averaging at R371 000.

Because of the demand for homes in Clarens a local developer has launched a new sectional title residential development called Quillets – which means a strip of land. The new complex is being built on close to 2ha in a tranquil location on the outskirts of the town, about 1.5km from the village centre and most of its amenities. The homes were designed by a local architect who has lived in Clarens all his life, and a showhouse is now nearing completion.

Says Parris: “Enquiries for homes in Quillets are ongoing as there is a shortage of more compact homes, especially with the convenience and benefits of a sectional title development. The previous most recent development, Paddocks, sold out off-plan in eight months.

“Many of our buyers are from Gauteng, looking for second or third homes which can be used for weekend getaways or let on a self-catering or long-term basis, as there is a tremendous shortage of rental accommodation in Clarens.”

She says that as Clarens is a town popular with tourists, investors in these properties achieve good returns while enjoying usage of their properties when not rented out to visitors.

“Units in a development such as Quillets are convenient, lock-up-and-go and hassle-free, so they are always sought after by buy-to-let investors from out of town and locals who want to downsize. We’re also seeing increased interest from KwaZulu-Natal and Bloemfontein.”

The new development is alongside the popular Maluti Lodge Hotel and next to the start of the Titanic hiking trail, with mountain views all round – from landmark Titanic Rock just north of the town, which strongly resembles the bow of a large oceangoing vessel, to Mount Horeb and the distant Maluti Mountains of Lesotho, and including scenic views down the Golden Gate Valley.

As the property is on a slope, each unit will have scenic uninterrupted views. Just 100m from Quillets are a day spa and two restaurants. Clarens is also renowned for its year-round white-water rafting and fishing, and in some years, snow scenes occasionally further enhance the appeal of the town from April to November.

Apart from an existing 350m2 manor house, which was built in the 1970s by an engineer from Johannesburg, there are a further 38 units in Quillets. The manor house is for sale at R3.8m and is currently leased out as two separate units – one with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large kitchen, a dining and lounge area with a veranda and two garages, and the second unit comprises two bedrooms, one bathroom, an open plan living and kitchen area and one garage.

In addition to the manor house, there are four freestanding, three storey luxury homes of about 250m2, with three bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, a kitchen, a lounge, a veranda and a double garage, each selling at R3.5m.

Seven further freestanding 185m2 double storey homes, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an open plan kitchen and living area, a built-in braai and a double garage, are priced at R2.5m each.

A further tranche of 27 155m2 double storey semi-detached homes with three bedrooms and two bathrooms plus an open plan kitchen/living area, a built-in braai and a single garage, are priced from R1.79m. buyers also have the option to enclose the verandas and install a fireplace in the lounge area.

All the above prices include VAT, with no transfer duty applicable.