In line with national trends, the residential property market in East London has seen property prices stabilise with buyers exercising care in their purchase decisions and sellers needing to ensure their asking prices are realistic and market related, says Hanlie Bassingthwaighte, area principal for Pam Golding Properties.

"Being currently a buyer's market, this scenario presents opportunities to the astute investor. Everyone wants a bargain and when others are selling, the astute purchaser buys. Buyers are investing in properties that are sure to give a good return. Approved developments with electricity allocation will soon be extremely sought after. At the recently launched Cascades Apartments we have sold 70 percent of the total of 75 apartments available in the first phase, so this has proven to be an investment winner as well as a major vote of confidence in the investment value of beachfront property in East London."

Cascades Apartments forms part of the development of the Premier Hotels & Resorts International's successful Regent Hotel complex. With balconies and spectacular sea views, the apartments are well designed self-catering units with spacious layouts and fully furnished to top quality specifications. Says Bassingthwaighte: "With construction now well under way, the beachfront skyline is taking on a new shape. A state-of-the-art Convention Centre will complement the apartment development and attract an even higher apartment occupancy rate into the future."

She adds that the current high interest rates have seen a surge in the demand for rental properties. There is also an underlying demand for property among black buyers, with many moving into the East London area from the Transkei and King Williams Town.

At the higher end of the market, PGP recently sold an eight-hectare smallholding situated on the Gonubie River for R7 million, while also on the market in the area is a magnificent beach house, set on 50 acres overlooking 8km of rarely utilised beach in an indigenous setting. Exclusively marketed through the Pam Golding Signature Collection, this stylish 1420sqm home encompasses bush, river and birdlife vistas. It has six bedrooms en suite plus two additional bathrooms, heated pool, double volume dining and living space, gymnasium, wine cellar, vast fold-away glass doors and wooden shutters and private footpath to the beach. The price is available only on application.

Bassingthwaighte says a further boost for East London is that it is rapidly becoming a national and international sports event destination of choice. "January saw the popular Iron Man event take place here and February was a champion bonanza with the SA Tennis Open, the 121st Buffalo Regatta, the 35th Surfers Marathon, the SA Triathlon Championship and the Vides Waterpolo tournament. All these major events have put our coastal city of East London on the map in a big way and provided a welcome boost for the economy - a factor which will impact positively on the residential property market," she says. "Such was the success of our February 'sports feast' that this has proven that East London has the capability to host these big events, and we see a great sporting future ahead."
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