Coastal towns this year's top performers

Among all the suburbs and towns served by the giant Homenet estate agency group, Struisbaai near Hermanus in the Western Cape has been ranked as the top performer of 2005, having shown the highest increase in average home price.

The group's analysis of sales shows that this popular coastal centre experienced a whopping 150 percent increase in average home price this year to R500 000.

Next on the list are Jeffreys Bay, near Port Elizabeth, where the average home price achieved jumped 108 percent to R700 000, and Brackenfell in Cape Town, where the average price rose 107 percent to R900 000.

Scottburgh on the KwaZulu-Natal South coast was ranked fourth, with a 100 percent increase to R900 000. Fifth place was shared by ever-popular Hermanus and the little Mpumalanga town of Kriel, each with a 92 percent increase in average price achieved .

Homenet has 162 offices countrywide. Feedback from these sources is therefore fairly representative of overall market trends, although as Homenet MD David Rogers points out, the log positions could be different if additional criteria such as volumes were to be taken into account.

"The figures are only part of the story and of course in the second half of 2005, the market has cooled somewhat.

"But within those limitations the statistics do shed light on overall market trends in these areas and provide points of reference for buyers and sellers."

Other areas that performed well were Primrose and Port Elizabeth (both 83%) and Dundee in KZN, Nelspruit and Bredasdorp (all at 82%).

It's interesting to note, says Rogers, that three of the five top performers were coastal towns, underlining the perennial appeal of these areas for holiday home and retirement buyers.

However, different drivers had a significant impact on other markets. Kriel for example was boosted by the de-mothballing of the nearby power station, while the appeal of Primrose and Brackenfell lies in their relative affordability.

"And if I were to take a stab at where the market will be in another years' time,
I would say there would not be too much change in overall patterns, with selected coastal areas remaining popular and inland areas driven by a variety of influences," says Rogers.
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