In stark contrast to prevailing property market conditions, the East London residential sector is positively buoyant.
Colin Kuhlmann, principal of the local Chas Everitt International franchise, says homes across the price spectrum are moving well and that top end homes in particular are selling fast.
Kuhlmann himself has sold six homes from the company's exclusive property collection at prices in excess of R2m over the past three months, and achieved a record price for a home on the Nahoon River.
"Many homes are being bought for cash and activity is increasing," he says. "Lots of people who have been sitting on the fence are buying now with a view to securing a bargain before the market turns upwards."
Vacant stands within built up areas are also being snapped up, he says. Buyers are looking for subdivided, secure land on which to build designer homes. Prices of up to R2m have been achieved for such stand sales.
And local buyers aren't the only ones in the market. "Buyers from Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Pretoria are increasingly finding East London an attractive option. There's less crime, less traffic, good schools and the city is imbued with a great coastal vibe," says Kuhlmann.
Not surprisingly, the rental market is also faring well, with demand outstripping supply at present. Freehold homes are the most popular at rentals of around R5000 a month.
Meanwhile retail and commercial development in East London is booming too. Many residential properties are being re-zoned for commercial use, and with retail space in short supply, a number of shopping complexes are on the cards. These include Hemingway's, a huge mixed-use project that is due for completion soon and will be one of the biggest of its kind in the Eastern Cape.
ISSUED BY CHAS EVERITT