Humansdorp market is humming

Property demand in the small Eastern Cape town of Humansdorp has never been higher – but the possibility of a new nuclear power station being built at nearby Thyspunt is only one of the reasons for the increased activity.

Vacant Land - Residential for sale in Humansdorp
So says Chas Everitt International area specialist Shirley Gradwell, who explains: “There are already two large wind farms being built close to Humansdorp, and major local employers such as Woodlands Dairy and The Co-Op are expanding and hiring many more workers and managers. Then because the town is also the administrative centre of the Kouga area, there is also increasing housing demand from government employees.
“On top of this, property is much more affordable in Humansdorp than in Jeffrey’s Bay (just 17km away) and in St Francis (20km away) so we are getting an influx of first-time buyers from those towns as well.”
This is a lot of new homeowners for a small town to absorb, she says, and sales have been unusually brisk this year, especially in the R300 000 to R500 000 range, although the average selling price in Humansdorp is now around R730 000.
“There is also a massive demand for rental properties, but very little stock available. There are hardly any apartments or townhouse complexes in Humansdorp, and new development has been slow in coming because the bulk infrastructure fees required by the local authority are mostly too high to make new projects viable at this stage.”
This could change, however, if government decides to go ahead with plans for SA’s second nuclear power plant at Thyspunt, on the coast between St Francis and Oyster Bay. “The proposed site is currently undergoing another environmental impact assessment,” notes Gradwell, “but Eskom already seems ready to proceed. The land is being cleared and fenced, and work is being done to upgrade the roads and bridges around Humansdorp, where most of those working on the plant would probably live.”

4 Bedroom House for sale in Humansdorp
She says the Minister of Energy Affairs and the director-general of the department have also both made strong statements recently about the need for nuclear power to be part of SA’s future energy mix, and that local unemployed people are already being offered bursaries and training to acquire some of the skills that will be needed to construct and run the plant.
“If it does go ahead, the power plant project would also bring a huge wave of new residents to Humansdorp from other parts of the country, most of them engineers or other specialist contractors. At a recent public information meeting about the project, we were told we could expect an influx of up to 5000 families, who would probably settle here for eight to 10 years.
“This would obviously require the rapid development of hundreds of new homes, and with the local schools already at full capacity, there would also be a need for more educational facilities. Meanwhile several national retailers have already begun looking for suitable premises in Humansdorp, even though the decision about the power plant is not due to be announced until October, at the earliest.”

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