‘Architectural masterpiece’ makes real estate history

ONE of St Francis Bay’s canal-fronting mansions has made local real estate history as the second most expensive house ever to be sold in the picturesque village.

Listed at R18.5-million, it was sold to a KwaZulu-Natal businessman within 10% of the asking price, says selling agent and principal of Harcourts St Francis Bay, Esme Welman. During its time on the market, the property, which was featured on the Harcourts Luxury Portfolio website, received more than 2200 hits from 27 different countries in eight languages.

Welman, while not at liberty to disclose the actual selling price, says the multi-million rand price tag befits the 1008m² “architectural masterpiece”, which boasts celebrity features such as a sliding roof over the entertainment area to enjoy night-time star viewing, indoor heated swimming pool, entertainment room and cinema complete with electric reclining seats.

“No expense was spared in the construction of this house, with quality and craftsmanship evident throughout,” says Welman of the home which also boasts central music and vacuum systems, and under-floor heating. Sold complete with tasteful furniture and five television sets, there is nothing to do but arrive on holiday, sip cocktails and relax while taking in the spectacular surrounds, she says.

St Francis Bay, which made national headlines recently in the wake of a devastating fire that destroyed 75 homes and an office, has long been a holiday playground for the wealthy.

Despite the destruction caused by the fire, which started at the Royal Wharf in Spray Avenue and spread rapidly on the back of 65km/h winds that caused it to jump the canals, “Little Venice”, with its unique thatch and white walled homes and navigable waterways, will always inspire confidence among buyers and holiday makers, Welman believes.

Ahead of the approaching holiday season, plans are afoot to clear the rubble so the area no longer resembles a war zone, says Welman, adding that most home owners were insured and would be rebuilding.

She believes the area’s aesthetic appeal will remain unchanged, even though some owners are likely to opt for tiled, rather than thatched, roofs this time around. Those who won’t be rebuilding will be selling their canal-side plots, which she describes as a “rare opportunity to buy stands in a prime position”.

According to Welman, there have been very few cancellations as a result of the fire. “It just shows that St Francis Bay is still regarded as one of the places to be during the festive season.”

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