RE/MAX Suburb Trend Report – New Brighton

Area history

As a place that bore witness to the first meetings of Khoisan, British, Dutch, German and Xhosa people, the Nelson Mandela Bay area is steeped in history. Its townships reflect this with a rich selection of history, tradition and culture. From their modest beginnings, these townships have thrived and become the nucleus of activity and social life.

One of the oldest settled townships in the country is New Brighton, which developed around the railway station which was built in 1877. It is said that in 1903, the land on which New Brighton now stands was earmarked for the establishment of a large 'model native settlement'. The outbreak of bubonic plague in 1901 was used as an excuse to gain government assistance for forced removals to this new 'location'. Over time, New Brighton became known as the Red Location after the corrugated-iron structures which had taken there from a defunct concentration camp at Uitenhage, eventually rusted and turned deep red.

During the 1960s, Red Location was used as a hideout for political fugitives after the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, went underground. Today the township is home to the new Red Location Museum, which was opened in 2006. The museum showcases the history of the township and tells the story of its part in the liberation struggle.

Area property information

Information sourced from Lightstone, a property statistics and information provider, shows that only freehold property is available in New Brighton, with more than 72% of existing homeowners in the area having lived in their homes for 11 years or more.

Just over 33% of recent buyers to the area are between 18 and 35 years old, while 42% of recent sellers are 65 years of age or more.

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that this indicates a trend of younger people moving into the area, with buyers largely young couples.

He notes that while the number of sales in the area has dropped from the high of 406 recorded in 2007 to roughly half that each year from 2008 to 2011, there is still a strong demand for property in the area.

Between July and September this year, close on 97% of all property sold (32 transfers were recorded) in New Brighton has been priced under R400 000, with an average value of approximately R88 000. Since 2004, property in the area has shown a steady appreciation, with average property values increasing steadily from around R21 000 in 2004 to R82 000 in 2012 – the highest average property value the area has seen in the last nine years.  The Lightstone national suburb ranking places the average valuation for property in New Brighton at R143 757.

Property price trends

Demand for property

Goslett says that the lower and middle price ranges in the South African property market are showing some of the strongest signs of recovery. “I believe that New Brighton and other areas like it across the country will continue to see steady demand for property and therefore the area’s growth in property values will reflect that.”

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