The Eastern Cape, frequently touted as the last of the great "undiscovered"
property jewels of South Africa, is looking forward to a bumper festive sales season.

Representatives of the ERA property group predict strong demand from numerous quarters and for all manner of property from undeveloped plots to upmarket freehold homes and townhouses, with prices that range from the distinctly affordable to what one might expect to pay in the big inland metropoles.

Still the centre of property gravity in the Eastern Cape is the Nelson Mandela Metropole (Port Elizabeth), which has undergone a radical transformation in terms of market perceptions.

Vanessa Sutherland of ERA Port Elizabeth says: "Local buyers still constitute most of the market, but we have seen buyers coming from as far afield as the Western Cape because of the greater value offered by PE properties.

"There's also a marked upswing in demand in nearby Uitenhage and Despatch, both of which are benefiting from affordability within easy reach of mainstream PE.

"The beachfront areas of Humewood and Summerstrand are very much the top end of the market and there has definitely been a slow down in this respect but there's a lot of buying activity at the middle to lower end.

"Areas such as Sydenham, Kensington, Upper Central and Lower Mount Croix are enjoying a revival as the market increasingly recognises their value.
Also there's a lot of hype surrounding the 2010 World Cup soccer stadium and the Coega development all of which should contribute towards a good festive sales season from buy-to-let investors."

Pippa Steele-Gray at ERA Kenton Estates also expects a good sales season in Kenton itself, as well as at Bushman's River Mouth, Boknes Strand and Cannon Rocks.

"There is heavy holiday season booking and that usually precedes good sales," she says. "Stock shortage is a problem. Realistic pricing is the answer but some sellers are holding out for their asking prices.

"Nonetheless good value is still to be had. Prices at Kenton for example range from about R1,5-million and an exciting new development overlooking the Kenton marina has viewsites starting at R650 000."

Anne-Marie Sweetnam of ERA Sun Properties in East London also expects upcountry buyers to be doing a lot of property shopping in the city over the festive season.

The market has cooled slightly she says, but remains soundly underpinned by significant commercial investment such as Daimler Chrysler, the harbour upgrade and the Industrial Development Zone.

"There's plenty of optimism in the local economy right now and this spills over into the property market generating demand for new developments such as a cluster scheme in Gonubie which comes onto the market shortly, with three bedroom, two bathroom homes selling for R1,5m.

"As for existing properties, there is very little good stock available at under R500 000. Generally demand is strong in all sectors from first-timers to retirees."

Issued by ERA South Africa
14 December 2006
For further comment please call
Gerhard Kotzé at 012 682 9610 or
ERA Port Elizabeth (041) 368 2530
ERA Kenton  (046) 648 1212
ERA Sun Properties (043) 726 8400
Or visit www.era.com

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