Marina living retains high appeal for home buyers

Through the decades the ocean has held a magnetic attraction for many, and today, waterfront living – whether at the seaside, river’s edge or canal-front remains highly sought after, resulting in such real estate generally being pegged at higher price levels than other homes.

At St Francis Bay and Port Alfred on the Eastern Cape’s ‘Sunshine Coast’, marina living retains its appeal and as Pam Golding Properties Port Alfred area principal points out, properties on the Royal Alfred Marina have also maintained value in spite of the current tighter market.

“There will always be potential buyers seeking marina homes,” she says. “As we have seen the available space being taken up at the Port Alfred Marina, so prospective buyers have noted the value of investment here, particularly as security is a major plus, especially among upcountry buyers who are accustomed to secure, complex living and regard security as one of their major requirements. This marina has single vehicle access, 24 hour guarded access control with regular patrol vehicles, monitored cameras and electric perimeter fencing.”

Meyer says the Royal Alfred Marina is seeing a demand among black buyers who are entering the leisure homes market. “The majority are established business people, often from upcountry but also from what was formerly known as the Border/Transkei areas and which now forms part of the Eastern Cape. They are looking at modern homes with clean lines as well as upmarket homes with good security as a lock-up-and-go option,” she says.

At St Francis Bay, Pam Golding Properties’ area principal Richard Arderne says the man-made canals are the lifeblood of St Francis Bay, and the reason many affluent Gauteng residents not only holiday there, but have also invested heavily in property in the area. “This trend has continued as over the past 20 years or more property has proven a sound investment, while living or holidaying on the water’s edge is a dream destination for many,” he says. “While the bulk of our buyers are locals from the Eastern Cape region, about 30 percent are from Gauteng, with some KwaZulu-Natal purchasers.

“It’s interesting to review the sale of homes on the canals in recent years. In 2011 there were a total of 17 sales on the canals comprising: four plots, which sold for R1.1 million and R1.2 million and two for R1.35 million each; and 13 houses sold – four over R4 million each and nine homes which sold for R4 million or below.

“There have been 152 properties sold on the canals since January 2006 at a total value of R501 million and of these, 45 were vacant plots, selling at an average price of R1.9 million. If one excludes the 13 sales of north-facing Long Island plots (with an average price of R2.7 million), the average plot price reduces to R1.2 million.”

Arderne says nine canal houses have sold for over R6 million – of which three were sold by Pam Golding Properties, including the highest price of R21 million which was achieved by PGP in 2008. The next highest price was R7.5 million, also a PGP sale. Prior to 2006, no homes sold anywhere in St Francis Bay for over R6 million.

During the first quarter of 2012 PGP has sold six homes in the R1 million to R2 million price range as well as a house for R4 million and 10 plots, mostly in the R160 000 to R300 00 price range and ranging up to R1.25 million for a prime plot in St Francis Links.

Meyer says positive news for Port Alfred is that Genista Lifestyle Estate is going ahead as a lifestyle village, catering for all ages. “This will provide a secure environment adjacent to the new Rosehill Mall and just down the road from the town and river. Spectacular river and sea views as well as scenic country vistas inland make this new development a very appealing option for any home buyer, particularly those looking ahead to future retirement.

“A ‘buy now for parents or your own retirement’ is a viable option with sound rental income achievable until such time as the home is needed by the owner. There are homes available for all ages, with units including two bedroom cottages to three and four bedroom, upmarket homes. All the freestanding homes are full title,” she says.

An addition to Genista Lifestyle Estate are sectional title apartment blocks, offering all the comfort amenities for those of more mature years and with occupation of these restricted to the older generation. A frail care unit is also to be built as part of phase one of this development.

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