Work in Gauteng, live in Port Elizabeth

Businesspeople whose livelihoods are inextricably linked to South Africa’s biggest and busiest cities but who want a better quality of life without forsaking their careers and earnings can choose a better lifestyle on the coast while commuting to the workplace, says Ian Olivier, area principal of Pam Golding Properties (PGP) in Port Elizabeth.

“We are seeing growing interest in the ‘Friendly City’ among Gauteng residents in particular, who are drawn to this appealing way of life without foregoing their income potential. One may describe this as a form of ‘semigration’, a South Africanism typically used to describe the relocation of both home and work - from a major economic hub to a smaller, quieter enclave. However, this trend can include moving one’s family home while continuing to work in the big city,” maintains Olivier. 

Priced at R10.9 million, this exceptional, spacious, double-storey home in the sought-after suburb of Walmer in Port Elizabeth, being marketed by Pam Golding Properties, is ideal for an out-of- town buyer seeking to commute from PE on business.

“This is probably the most viable means of upgrading quality of life without compromising on earning ability,” he says, pointing out that the city’s beautiful beaches, temperate sea waters, subtropical climate and proximity to a host of malaria-free nature reserves are the major lures for Gauteng residents craving a coastal lifestyle in a relatively secure environment. 

He adds: “Workplace commuting between Port Elizabeth and Gauteng is entirely feasible considering that flying time between the cities is only about 90 minutes.  I know of those who fly to work in Gauteng on a Monday morning, work a four day week and then return to their families in PE on Thursday. When you consider how much time and money Gauteng residents spend commuting to work and back every day, this is a financially viable alternative for some.” 

Another reason for big city dwellers relocating to Port Elizabeth is the convenience aspect. “Locals have long called it the 10-minute city because it takes 10 minutes to drive anywhere in the city centre,” he explains.  “Even making allowance for increased traffic levels in the last couple of years, it’s literally a quarter of an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth Airport to the business areas in Central, Walmer and Summerstrand.”

The customised poolside Teppanyaki kitchen in the luxury, double-storey home in Walmer, Port Elizabeth, priced at R10.9 million through Pam Golding Properties.

These, along with Port Elizabeth’s comparative brick and mortar value - even at the top end of its real estate market - are the reasons given by those looking to acquire two of his company’s most exclusive listings, he says. According to Olivier, one of the homes, a presidential double-storey on more than an acre of land in Walmer’s prime upper avenues, is shortlisted by a buyer who intends establishing it as his family home from which he will commute to work and back in Gauteng during the week.

The English Manor style-home with its leaded windows and gleaming wooden floors was built in 1948 for a doctor. It epitomises the grace and elegance of a bygone era, says Olivier, who believes the price tag of R7.5 million is fitting for the north-facing residence which stands proud in a landscaped garden. In all, it offers formal and family lounges, an elegant dining room, eat-in designer kitchen, wine cellar, five bedrooms and five bathrooms, exceptional pool-side entertainment area, double garage with automated access and staff accommodation.  

“The other Gauteng buyer is planning to relocate both home and business to Port Elizabeth on the back of the growth of the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), which has reportedly injected more than R1.2 billion into the Eastern Cape construction industry and created 2 500 jobs since the beginning of the year (2013),” he adds. “There is huge scope for economic growth in Port Elizabeth, not least of which is Coega where projects worth more than R124 billion are currently being negotiated.”

This buyer has his eye on a contemporary South African farmhouse-style mansion with breathtaking sea views, he continues.  Spread out over two hectares within an exclusive and secure residential estate, the 960 square metre home offers five bedrooms (main en suite), four bathrooms, five reception rooms, four garages, a boat house, large guest cottage and staff quarters. Needless to say, the finishes are in keeping with its R15.9 million price tag, says Olivier, adding that despite its country setting, the property is within easy commuting distance of the city and the airport. 

High-end buyers used to the plush offerings of Sandton and the like won’t be disappointed in PGP Port Elizabeth’s luxury portfolio, which says Olivier, will satisfy the requirements of even the most exacting shoppers.       

“At ambassadorial level, there are some fabulous homes to choose from, including a recently listed contemporary style, slate roof mansion in Walmer’s highly prized upper avenues.” Private and secure, Olivier says the magnificent double-storey has been home to an international business family for the last five years. Designed by Wayne Landale, one of South Africa's leading architects, the home features world-class fittings throughout.

Set in half an acre of walled, manicured garden complete with putting green, swimming pool, floodlit tennis court and solarium-style guest house, the property impresses from the road. Access is via an outsize pedestrian entrance and triple automated garage, which lead into a double-volume entrance hall. This is the gateway to the vast, six room living area, which is flanked by stacking doors that fold away for summertime entertaining on a grand scale. In addition to a fully-fitted bar and premium-brand fitted cordon bleu kitchen with separate scullery, the property also includes a customised poolside Teppanyaki kitchen and informal dining area with built-in barbeque, as well as a lavish two bathroom guest suite with beautiful views of the garden. Night lighting creates a spectacular environment for entertaining, while during the day the garden is a bird watcher's paradise.

Accommodation in the main house comprises four spacious bedrooms, two of which are en suite while the others share a beautiful family bathroom. The main bedroom wing is a sumptuous affair with walk-in dressing room, his-and-hers studies, lounge, balcony and ultra luxurious bathroom.   

A separate security and telecommunications room provides high speed ADSL lines and a network consisting of a Cisco router and multiple Apple airport wireless points for reliable wireless communication.  Along with its hi-tech security system the home also offers numerous state-of-the-art fitted appliances, under floor heating, domestic quarters, guest toilet and irrigation system. There’s also a gymnasium in the house with quality imported gym equipment included in the asking price.

Close to prestigious private boarding schools such as St Andrews, DSG, Kingswood and Grey, the current owners says the property has proved a luxurious and relaxing environment ideally suited to entertaining and hosting large numbers of excited school boarders at half-term and during school holidays.

They say that the Eastern Cape offers excellent fishing destinations and ready access to famous game parks and reserves. Last but not least, PE lives up to its moniker as the ‘Friendly City’.  There is a ready network of parents and old boys and girls from St Andrews, DSG, Kingswood and Grey providing strong professional connections and a warm welcome to new arrivals.

The home is also ideal for golfing enthusiasts, with its golf car garage and close proximity to the Walmer and Humewood Links Golf Courses, the latter consistently ranked in South Africa's top 10.

Says Olivier: “This is a home for the discerning buyer, comparable with the finest properties in the country.  However, at R10.9 million, it’s considerably more competitively priced than comparable homes in many other exclusive suburbs in South Africa.  What’s more, the owners, who are returning to live in the USA, have expressed their willingness to negotiate the sale of some exclusive imported American and Italian furniture.”

Those with a preference for modernism have a rare opportunity to buy a 1 000 square metre double-storey house in Walmer, designed by renowned architect Ron Hicks. The contemporary-style, award-winning home boasts sweeping valley and bay views as well as four living rooms, four en suite bedrooms, music room and gallery, double-volume indoor pool area overlooked by a glass bridge, large pool equipped with an exercise pump, and temperature controlled wine cellar.

On the market for R5.75 million, its master builder owner puts the replacement cost today at around R15 million, which, says Olivier, represents outstanding value for money.

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