Uitenhage property market blossoms

Property sales are flourishing in the Eastern Cape towns of Uitenhage and Despatch, because although prices there have risen substantially in the past five years, homes in these towns are still more affordable than in nearby Port Elizabeth.
Chas Everitt International area specialist Venessa Lotter, who moved to Uitenhage herself just a year ago, says the town – which forms part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro – is growing primarily as a result of the construction of wind farms in the area and growing activity at the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), which is about 30 minutes’ drive away.

?10 Bedroom Farm for sale in Uitenhage
Several major construction projects are currently underway in the IDZ, including the new plant for Chinese car and truck manufacturer First Automobile Works; a cold storage plant for Famous Brands; a wind tower manufacturing plant for the DCD Group; a R400m smelter facility for Agni Steel and a R300m air separation plant for Afrox.
And according to the Coega Development Corporation these have injected more than R1,2bn into the Eastern Cape construction industry this year and created 2500 jobs  - on top of almost 14 000 direct and indirect jobs created by IDZ projects in the financial year to end-March.
“Quite a number of people are also relocating to our metro from the Western Cape and Gauteng for work reasons, and Uitenhage is attractive to many because property here is more affordable than in the city,” says Lotter.“It is attracting young buyers from Port Elizabeth for the same reason, and the fact that the town is an education ‘hub’ with a cluster of excellent primary and high schools is also bringing in family buyers in search of a more peaceful lifestyle.”
The local schools include at least 30 primary schools and about 10 secondary schools such as Strelitzia High, Riebeeck College Girls’ High, Muir College Boys’ High and Daniel Pienaar Technical High.
House prices, Lotter says, generally range from around R750 000 to R850 000, but have broken through the R1m mark quite often this year. “There are cheaper, older houses closer to the centre of town, but stock is increasingly limited. These houses generally offer three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a garage, whereas those in more upmarket areas such as Vanes Estate and Winterhoek Park are bigger, more modern and fetch higher prices.”
According to property data company Lightstone, the average sold price of freehold properties transferred in Uitenhage Central in the past three months was R558 000 (compared with an average of R408 000for the whole of 2012). The average sold price of freehold properties transferred in Vanes Estate was R1,01m (compared with an average of R744 000 last year).
Lotter notes there has been very little new home construction in Uitenhage in the past few years but that there has been some in the Campher Park and Windsor Park suburbs of nearby Despatch, where younger buyers can now find smaller, modern houses and townhouses.
Lightstone figures show an average price of R564 000 for freehold properties transferred in Campher Park this year, and an average of R507 000 for similar properties in Windsor Park.

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