Like all parts of the country, Fish Hoek in the South Peninsula was affected by the global recession. "During the period November 2007 up to and including October 2008 there were 207 residential - freehold, sectional title and land - sales totalling R265 million," says Tony Webb, MD of Fine & Country False Bay.
"In 2009 there were 192 sales totalling R212 million, and then early this year I prepared a presentation for 2011 and there were 189 sales of R205 million. It was interesting to note that only nine houses during this period sold for more than R2 million. So, it is very clear that although Fish Hoek was affected by the recession, it was not affected as dramatically as other areas of the country.Prices had to be lowered
"Since 2007, with the introduction of the National Credit Act, followed by the worldwide recession in 2008, the South African property market was challenging and 2012 is not likely to be the exception. There have been pockets of excellence but generally prices have stabilised and volumes have remained steady.
Sellers locally and nationally have had to lower their price expectations and although there are buyers in the market, the bank's lending criteria have made it difficult for them to secure mortgage loan finance.
Consumer debt levels are still frighteningly high and almost 50% of consumers have a poor credit record. On a positive note, interest rates are currently low in South African terms, the lowest they have been in many years.
"Reports indicate that property prices will remain fairly static in real terms during 2012 - this may well be the scenario nationally although the Fish Hoek Valley appears to buck the national trend and recent sales certainly bode well for the future of the property market in Fish Hoek. We are well positioned to maintain 2011 house prices with a potential for a small real increase in price," Webb says.Many retired residents
There are a number of reasons for this but probably the most significant is the location of Fish Hoek. Although Fish Hoek is a coastal town it is not a coastal town where the majority of properties are holiday homes. The demographics are such that many of the properties are bond-free and there are more retired or close to retired residents than the national average. There is still a demand for up-country buyers as Fish Hoek still offers value compared with many other residential areas on the Peninsula.
"Consumerism will become more evident in 2012 and the consumer will want to associate with specialists in the property field. Consumers are likely to place more emphasis on trust and their confidence in the property expert. Property consultants in 2012 will need to be more focused on offering excellent service and providing evidence that they are really experts in their field.
"Traditional forms of property marketing will continue in 2012 but there will be more evidence of Internet promotion as more and more South Africans have access to the internet and particularly mobile media and communication," Webb concludes.