Real estate goes ‘hot’ again in St Francis

Home buying activity in St Francis Bay is currently at its highest levels since the 2008 recession, and selling prices have jumped by an average of 14% in the past 12 months on the back of an increase in sales of more than 80%.

This crisp and contemporary home in St Francis Bay was recently sold by Chas Everitt International. It has three ensuite bedrooms, a separate guest suite, and open-plan kitchen/living/dining area and a separate TV lounge, as well as a covered and protected entertainment area with built-in braai and an excellent security system. It is also just 100m from the beach.
That’s the word from Brendon Lahana, owner of the local Chas Everitt International franchise, who says the market has been buoyed in recent months by the redevelopment of the 76 houses that were destroyed in a fire that swept through the village in November 2012.
“Currently, about 90% of the development taking place here is directly related to that fire, and many of the affected owners are investing even more capital in this area to build bigger and better homes than those that were destroyed.”
At the same time, he says, the market has opened up substantially and retirees no longer account for the majority of home purchases in this coastal village with its unique canal system. “We are seeing many more young entrepreneurs and professionals take up residence here, and many corporate executives relocating their families to St Francis from Gauteng and commuting weekly through Port Elizabeth.
“Historically St Francis Bay was a safe haven for retirees, who were attracted by the fact that it was off the beaten track with not much happening other than good waves and good fishing. And when I arrived in 2005, there werejust a handful of school-going children in the area that would commute to the neighbouring Humansdorp and Jeffreys Bay schools.
“Now the average buyer age has dropped significantly and there are multiple buses running each day to transport about 250 children to and from school.”
Lahana says the highest current demand from prospective homebuyers is for the charming whitewashed and thatched properties on the canals, and the most popular price range is R3m to R5m.
Away from the canals, two-bedroom sectional title apartments and townhouses, some with seaviews, are available at prices from around R850 000, while two-bedroom apartments overlooking the harbour at Port St Francis start at around R925 000.Three-bedroom houses in secure complexes start from just under R1m and three-bedroom freehold homes in the village itself are available at prices from R1,45m.
Top attractions of the area include one of the country’s few private harbours, as well as Cape St Francis, considered by many to be SA’s best beach, he says. “But most buyers come for the healthy lifestyle, including easy access to water sports, boating, two golf courses, fitness facilities and an abundance of holistic practitioners.”

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