Blue Flag status confirms high quality of our coastal property

The high quality and appeal of South Africa’s coastal areas has once again been confirmed by the international Blue Flag programme.  

Run by an independent non-profit organisation based in Denmark, the programme endorses beaches around the world which offer good water quality, high standards of cleanliness and security, and sound environmental management.  National Tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk announced earlier this month (11 October 2012) that 36 South African beaches had attained the coveted Blue Flag status for the coming summer season (1 December 2012 to 31 March 2013), including 23 in the Western Cape alone.

Pam Golding Properties’ MD for the Western Cape metro area, Laurie Wener, says South Africa’s growing success in the Blue Flag programme reinforces the value of the region’s coastal property.  “We are fortunate to have some of the most magnificent scenic property in the world around the Western Cape coast,” she says.  “Prime coastal property comes at a premium all over the world, and it is no different here in Cape Town.  Yet it is still possible to acquire homes either directly on the beachfront or within easy walking distance – and at prices far more competitive than one would pay for beachfront homes in Europe, the US or Australia.”

MD for the Boland and Overberg regions, Annien Borg, adds that obtaining Blue Flag status is a significant achievement.  “This is a highly credible international rating, providing peace of mind for international visitors to the country as well as reinforcing the appeal of coastal suburbs for local buyers.  What makes South Africa’s Blue Flag beaches particularly special is their accessibility – many of them are located within urban areas or not far from them, meaning that properties on or near the beach can be utilised for permanent residence, and not just holiday and leisure use.”

Among the beaches achieving Blue Flag status in PGP’s Overberg region this year are Bikini Beach (Gordon’s Bay) and Grotto Beach (Hermanus).

Bikini Beach

Located in Gordon’s Bay at the very foot of the Hottentots Holland mountain range, Bikini Beach is a small, sheltered enclave with approximately 20 homes, some of which have been in the hands of individual families for over four decades.  Residents include professionals, retirees and leading businesspeople, some residing there all year round, while others use the homes as weekend and holiday getaways.  The property mix includes several older homes as well as a number of properties which have been completely restored and modernised in recent years.  As a result, prices can range anywhere from around R4.5 million to R15 million.  Recent sales in the area (across all agencies) have included R1.5 million for a 400sqm vacant plot and R7 million for a house.

The beach offers safe, warm swimming and is within walking distance of the harbour, where many residents moor a yacht.  Whales are regular visitors in season, and there is a strong culture of watersports activities.  The beachfront also offers panoramic views of Cape Point, the Atlantic Ocean, Table Mountain, the Durbanville Hills and Hottentots Holland mountains, as well as several Somerset West wine farms.

Grotto Beach

Grotto Beach in Hermanus has the distinction of being South Africa’s longest-running Blue Flag beach, having received the award for the 11th time this year.  It is also one of the longest beaches in the Western Cape, extending several kilometres beyond the Hermanus lagoon mouth, all the way De Kelders in Gansbaai.  The area is world-famous for its whale-watching, and in season, Southern Right whales often bask just beyond the breakers.

Grotto Beach is dominated by holiday homes, most of them locally-owned.  Properties include a number of beautiful beach houses, with prices varying from around R4 million for older homes set further back from the sea, to over R15 million for those on the front row.  Vacant beachfront plots of around 1000sqm can fetch anything from R8 million to R10 million, depending on proximity to the beach, views and privacy.

PGP’s sales in 2012 have included six properties located on or just behind the front row, with four of these selling for over R12 million.  The most recent of these was a home whose garden leads directly down to the beachfront, which sold for R15.2 million in September (2012).

No fewer than eight beaches in the Cape metropolitan area were granted Blue Flag status this year, including Camps Bay and Clifton Fourth Beach.

Camps Bay

One of the longest beaches on Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard, Camps Bay offers the advantage of easy accessibility, due to its flat topography on the level with the suburb’s main road.  The suburb offers a mix of homes including apartments, townhouses, cottages and mansions, many located just a block or two away from the palm-fringed sand.

In the areas adjoining the beachfront, prices range from around R6.7 million for vacant land to around R15 million for three- or four-bedroomed apartments at the sought-after Bakoven end.  Even the older bungalows in this section can fetch close to R13 million. Front row properties in Bakoven and Glen Beach come at a premium, as they are located directly on the water’s edge with magnificent ocean views and direct beach access.

Due to the suburb’s proximity to central Cape Town, property-owners in Camps Bay include a mix of permanent residents and holiday users.  They enjoy a cosmopolitan lifestyle, including access to the wide range of restaurants and beach cafes located right on the beachfront.

Clifton Fourth Beach

Clifton’s beachfront bungalows are among the most sought-after – and highly-priced – properties in the city.  Prices range from of around R15 million to over R60 million for north-facing bungalows on the ridge with vehicular access.  The front row in particular commands premium prices because of its rarity value – but properties seldom come onto the market.  Owners tend to hold on to this unsurpassed beachfront lifestyle, sometimes for generations.  Strict zoning and building regulations mean that views will never be compromised and the unique character of the area will be preserved, even when older properties are renovated and modernised.

“To live on Clifton Fourth is to live the lifestyle of the international jet-set,” says PGP’s area manager for the Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl, Basil Moraitis.  “It’s Cape Town’s answer to the French Riviera.”

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