Eastern Cape experiencing a tide of new developments

While the Eastern Cape is a market known for being somewhat cooler than other coastal areas, a tide of new developments has resulted in increased interest.

This, in turn, according to RMB Private Bank’s Francois Thevenau, Head of Valuations, is supporting long-term prospects for the province and providing the opportunity for more investors than previously to enter the property market.

Thevenau is in little doubt that investor perceptions of the Eastern Cape are changing.

“Kwa Zulu-Natal and the Western Cape have enjoyed the association of holiday-making while Port Elizabeth and East London are associated with the motor industry and port activity,” says Thevenau. “However, these cities and many of the small coastal towns, among them Jeffreys Bay, Port Alfred and Cape St Francis are staking a claim for the attention of second home buyers as well as for owner occupier developments,” he says.

While the major cities of the province have enjoyed modest growth in property values of between five and six percent, Thevenau says figures of up to 30% per annum are recorded in select locations such as St Francis Bay’s Sea Vista. “This is as much a function of the desirability of these locations in terms of the natural beauty of the surroundings and the associated lifestyle as it is of awareness in the minds of investors and improved accessibility,” he adds.

Developments to which Thevenau draws attention include the already sold out St Francis Links golf course in St Francis Bay and a new eco-estate called Fynbos. Fynbos offers 240 erven and a proposal to build several properties for fractional ownership.

In the nearby town of Humansdorp, Thevenau says a former municipal golf course is being developed into a lifestyle estate, Zwartenbosch, which is to be launched in April, “This Bali themed development offers 641 units; with pricing from R1,5 to R2-million for completed houses," says Thevenau.

“This provides the investor with an opportunity to own a more affordable second- or holiday home. This type of development is well-pitched at the mid-market and is expected to create some 1000 permanent jobs for local people,” he adds.

In East London, the Kenton-on-Sea development near the Kei River Mouth is to make available 313 upmarket sites. Thevenau says increased awareness of the necessity for ecologically responsible development will see this development re-engineer water supply and make use of a desalination plant; “Ecological constraints will also limit development, providing for excellent growth prospects in the medium to long term.”

Meanwhile, in Jeffreys Bay, another potential development which is being planned will bring to market erven in a secure eco-estate at the affordable land price starting at around R200 000 per cluster unit opportunity.

“The intention with the Jubilee Lakes development is to give mid-to lower middle level earners land which they can develop for their retirement or as a holiday home. The development will be ‘village’ styled with integration of residential space with business, offices and community-based lifestyle activities,” says Thevenau. The proposed 2-phase development is anticipated to number 3 200 erven; he notes that the development is still in the planning stage.

Certainly, he confirms, the Eastern Cape is opening up as an attractive and still-affordable province for investors to consider. “Any lifestyle and eco-village, provided that it is not too remote, is always attractive as a holiday or retirement destination. There are several developments in the Eastern Cape that fit this bill and which are highly viable even for those with a relatively modest income,” according to Thevenau.
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