Blue Flags mean more property buyers along Port Elizabeth beachfront

The recent announcement that three Port Elizabeth beaches have now been awarded Blue Flag status has made beachfront property along this popular coastline even more desirable.

The Hobie, Humewood and Kings beaches in Port Elizabeth have all been awarded Blue Flag status by the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA, and the demand for beachfront property in the city is rising as a result.

That’s the word from Charlotte Vermaak, director of the Chas Everitt International franchise in Nelson Mandela Bay, who says: “We are very proud of the fact that the Kings, Humewood and Hobie beaches now all have the right to wave the Blue Flag, which means that visitors can be sure they meet the exacting standards of cleanliness, safety and environmental management that have been set by the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA (Wessa) for the 2015-16 season.

“We think it is only fitting that the main beaches in what is known as the Watersports Capital of SA have this status and have no doubt that it will boost interest in Port Elizabeth’s beachfront property.”

She says that although such property is in short supply, it is still available at extremely competitive prices compared to similarly-located properties in other SA coastal cities.

“Our cost of living is also lower than the other major centres, and we are experiencing an influx of new residents who are relocating from other SA provinces because Port Elizabeth offers a better quality of life.”

Indeed, says Vermaak, sales volumes would be higher at the moment were it not for the fact that the current demand for property is outstripping supply - not only along the beachfront but in most parts of the city. “The highest demand is in the R800 000 to R1,5m price bracket, putting the spotlight on areas like Lorraine, Sherwood, Charlo, Overbaakens and the Western suburbs.”

According to property data company Lightstone and deeds office data, she says, the current average sale prices across all areas of Port Elizabeth are R1,066m for freehold properties and R600 000 for sectional title units.

“And the lack of well-priced stock for sale is reflected in the fact that the number of transfers year-on-year has declined by 27% for freehold properties and 14% for sectional title properties.

However, Vermaak does not expect prices to rise as quickly as would usually be the case in the face of such supply constraints. “The average household income in Port Elizabeth ranges from R24 000 to around R37 000, which only qualifies buyers for bonds of between R772 000 and R1,19m, and many households here are also feeling the pinch of low economic growth.”

At the upper end of the market, she says, prices are currently averaging at about R2,5m and at the lower end about R300 000, with 37% of transfers taking place in the R400 000 to R800 000 price bracket and 32% taking place in the R800 000 to R1,5m price bracket.

Along the increasingly sought-after beachfront, prices are of course somewhat higher. In Summerstrand, for example, the average price of freehold properties is  R2,54m, while that for sectional title apartments is R806 000.

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