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Best locations in South Africa for a holiday home

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The stresses of work, city living and simply the ongoing daily grind sees many people looking to realise their dream of owning a holiday home where they can kick back and unwind with family and friends on weekends or longer getaways – or ultimately, even relocate.
In an article published by Property24 house prices in towns typically considered holiday towns continue to accelerate quite strongly – possibly because a growing number of young people are turning to these smaller towns for their permanent homes as they offer more affordable accommodation, less congestion and increasingly, educational facilities such as private schools.
Property24 spoke to various estate agencies to get a better understanding on where is best to own a holiday home and what aspects to consider.
Put family first
Firstly, make a list of you and your family’s own requirements. Ensure there are activities the whole family can enjoy. Keep a look out for restaurants, animal parks, beaches, hiking routes, fishing spots, adventure sports and other fun holiday activities, as well as convenient shopping malls, according to Stef Nel and Mohammed Amra, Pam Golding Properties area principals in Scottburgh and Port Shepstone.
The importance of location
Nel indicated the importance of the location. Is the property within easy reach and in a destination you would want to visit regularly, and is the cost of the transport to and from within your budget? Depending on your own requirements and personal interests, is the property accessible from a distance perspective, and also within easy reach of the leisure activities available?
Lifestyle
Bear in mind your holiday home needs to allow for growth and fit into both your current and future lifestyles, according to Ling Dobson, Pam Golding area principal in Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.
Large open-plan areas are perfect for relaxing and family entertainment. And with amazing water sports right on your doorstep, you will probably want to enjoy the convenience of being able to walk into your home with wet, sandy feet, so check that the floors are geared for this.
Ease of access
Accessibility is key to Nicola Lloyd, Pam Golding Properties area manager in Hermanus and Onrus in the Western Cape. “Understand how often you would like to make use of your holiday home and what your long-term goals are. You may be looking for an easily accessible regular weekend getaway or a more distant holiday home to use for longer periods. Or you may be seeking a holiday home with potential for permanent living in the future. Also, get to know the area and its weather influences well before you commit to a specific location and site, and establish if the area faces north or south to enjoy the best orientation,” she said.
Location and position of the property within the area of your choice is particularly important if the home needs renovation, which requires additional capital investment, according to Erika van der Westhuizen, Pam Golding Properties area principal in Hartbeespoort Dam.
Choose an affordable home
Affordability is a critical factor, so remember to take into account the fact that there are property cycles and periods where interest rates may fluctuate, according to Nel.
Check the popularity and price growth in the area you are looking at buying into. “Not all areas are on the up and up, so ensure you do your homework as you don’t want to invest in an area where house prices may not be appreciating in value. Also look further than the cost of the property itself – don’t forget to consider costs like furniture, should it be acquired unfurnished, as well as electricity, water, rates, taxes and levies.”
Lock-up and go
Security is important, especially if the home will remain vacant for lengthy periods, so it’s advisable to look for a lock-up and go property which is easy to maintain, such as within a sectional title complex, as then security and external maintenance are taken care of by the body corporate.
Before you buy, check that the complex has effective management in place, a healthy track record and sound financial records.
Making a sound investment
For resale purposes, ensure you buy a home that suits most families, and rather spend a little more in order to have a fantastic view, which again adds value should you decide to disinvest later on, advises Van der Westhuizen.
Planning ahead
If you are in your 40s, you may be looking ahead to buying a property to retire to. This makes good sense as by the time you reach 60 you could have a home on the coast that is then fully paid for. At the same time your primary residence has increased in value, the sale of which will provide you with cash flow or funds for further investment.
Letting income
Holiday homes should be both for leisure and for investment purposes, so I would advise my clients to invest in holiday homes where short-term letting is allowed. This would mean that their properties can generate returns when they are not using them. To this end, a managed apartment block that offers a key and laundry service would be ideal, as the property would be hassle-free and the owners could book several weeks per annum for personal use and leave the management agents to manage their short-term lets in between.