Home to one of very few marinas in South Africa, St Francis Bay residential real estate is assured of sound investment value due to the fact that no further canals are envisaged, thereby limiting if not halting the potential for further new waterfront homes, says Richard Arderne, Pam Golding Properties area principal.
“Construction of the canals began in the 1960s by Leighton Hulett and in 2001 his son, Nevil completed the seven kilometres of canals, creating 14km of prime water frontage. Over and above the exceptional aesthetic appeal of the canals, they are a great success from a technical and environmental point of view. There is excellent tidal flow, ensuring good water quality and furthermore, the water quality is evidenced by the plentiful fish and shellfish life in the canals,” he says.

Further highlighting the desirability of an investment in a leisure home in St Francis Bay, Arderne points out that building plan statistics released by the Kouga Municipality reveal that the average size of new dwellings in St Francis Bay has increased dramatically since 1993 - from just over 200sqm in the early 1990’s to 515sqm currently.
He says the fact that as a homeowner you are able to ‘park’ your boat at the end of your lawn and travel up the river or out to sea for fishing, waterskiing, as well as go surfing, canoeing, swimming, kiteboarding and windsurfing in minutes makes St Francis Bay an outdoor lover’s dream location.
“About 90 percent of the 500 canal plots have homes on them, with the remaining vacant stands rapidly being developed. Sizes of the stands range from 400-2000sqm with prices of plots varying from about R1.5 million to approximately R3 million. Houses on the canals are priced from around R3 million to approximately R5 million, with a few higher priced luxurious homes,” he adds.

Three years ago (2008) Pam Golding Properties (PGP) sold a very large, prime canal home for R21 million, a record residential price for the area. This is one of just 13 single
residential homes sold for more than R6 million in St Francis Bay (including Cape St Francis), and of these, PGP sold five.  All 13 sales took place since 2006, indicating the buoyancy experienced at the top end of the market during the period 2007-2010.

On Long Island – an exclusive island comprising 30 plots, which offers additional security in an area which already has a very low crime rate, only three plots remain available for purchase, priced from R1.3-R3 million. About 50 percent of the stands have completed homes - all very upmarket. Last year Pam Golding Properties sold a completed home for R6.6 million and the purchaser invested a further amount of approximately R2 million on improvements.

PGP is also marketing homes on the canals, including an attractive north-facing home with a wide canal frontage and located within a small 15 unit security estate. This five bedroom holiday home is close to the river, convenient for regular river trips for fishing or waterskiing, and is well priced at R3.8 million.
Comments Arderne: “Despite the poorer performance of property in South Africa in the present economic climate, canal properties in St Francis Bay have held their value and proven to be very sound investments, escalating in value well ahead of inflation. For example, typical canal plots currently valued at R2 million were purchased for about R400 000 10 years ago, while prime canal houses which a decade ago sold for about R1 million are now in the R5-R7 million price range.  And it’s true to say that all canal properties have appreciated extremely well over the past 10 and 20 years. Some houses on the canals have sea as well as canal views, while others enjoy vistas of the mountains beyond Humansdorp, including the mighty Cockscomb – the highest in the Eastern Cape.

Arderne adds that there is also a small boat harbour for launching as well as mooring for boat owners who do not have a canal property. Owners are required to have their boats certified as seaworthy on an annual basis and must have a licence to drive them. For most of the year, the canals are relatively peaceful, while at times sporting events are held including paddling, swimming and triathlons. During the busy two-week festive season in December each year, St Francis Bay and the canals enjoy a full and festive atmosphere.

Issued by Gaye de Villiers

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