Fri, 24 May 2024
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Vacant plots in demand and selling on EC’s sought-after Sunshine Coast

Home Business Management Finance & Investment Vacant plots in demand and selling on EC's sought-after Sunshine Coast

SOUND value for money and a great lifestyle continue to draw home buyers – especially leisure seekers – to the Eastern Cape’s Sunshine Coast, abundant with beaches, lagoons and rivers. “From a capital growth point of view, getting the time to buy in a market cycle correct is important,” says chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group, Dr Andrew Golding.

The property specialist says that right now there are very appealing ‘land-and-build’ opportunities along this scenic coastline to secure a place in the sun to build a holiday getaway or permanent residence.

“In recent years, there has been robust demand for vacant plots on the Sunshine Coast, with a particularly pronounced increase in plots sold in St Francis Bay in 2021 and 2022. A similar trend is evident in Kenton-on-Sea, where sales rose sharply in 2021 and notably so in 2022, while plot sales in Port Alfred have risen steadily during the past 10 years, with sales in 2021 the highest in a decade.

“Comprising predominantly freehold property, the housing market in all three towns is very positive. Port Alfred and St Francis Bay have both recorded solid growth in freehold prices over the past five years.”

Dr Golding says while all three towns are particularly appealing to the older homeowner, such as those who are downscaling due to life stage and/or retiring, they all enjoy a fair distribution across the various age brackets, which is indicative of the broad appeal across generations as they offer a very attractive lifestyle and still affordable house prices. Interestingly, Port Alfred has the largest percentage of recent buyers who are ‘young adults’ (18-34 years of age), many of whom are possibly first-time home buyers.”

Such is the demand that the median price of vacant plots sold in Port Alfred rose by 56.6% from 2017 to 2022, and in St Francis Bay increased by 52.5% over the same period, reflecting solid capital appreciation. However, In Port Alfred, vacant plots remain affordable, despite the town having registered extremely strong growth in prices of +150% over the past decade. (Source of statistics: Lightstone)

Local area principal in St Francis Bay, Richard Arderne, says the property market has been very buoyant over the past three years, with house prices increasing way ahead of inflation.

Says Arderne: “Vacant plots have on average at least doubled in price over the last three years, indicative of sound return on investment. On the canals, prices have doubled from around R2 million to R4 million-R5 million plus, with only 28 vacant plots remaining out of the total of approximately 500 canal plots.

“In Santareme, prices have also doubled, both at prime coastal sites – now at around R4.5 million – as well as entry-level plots, which are currently priced around R300 000. On St Francis Links, plot prices have at least doubled, despite quite a few plots still being available, with hardly any on the market   under R500 000, and some even selling for over R2 million.”

Construction activity in St Francis is still brisk, says Arderne, with some buyers investing over R20 million in plot plus building costs.

Says Arderne: “St Francis Links has about 50 houses under construction at any given time while the 35 unit sectional title development, St Francis Links Villas is nearing completion. Building is also steaming ahead in our exclusive mandate nearly sold-out 100-unit Homestead Views Security Estate, and the 55-unit Port View Place, while home building is about to start at the 130-unit Grand Comoros retirement village.

“Many canal homes are being built and more being renovated, while some older homes are being demolished to make way for new residences.”

Adds Arderne: “An improved retail offering in St Francis has made the town more attractive, with excellent new restaurants, coffee shops and pubs, in addition to décor, clothing and DIY retailers, two new gyms, two indoor pools, a proliferation of yoga, pilates, boxing and other varied activities, plus a host of water and other sports such as surfing, paddling, boating and golf. As a result, we’ve seen an influx of buyers, many of them young families, creating work for many, including builders, and seeing more secure estates being developed.”

Meanwhile in Port Alfred, Isobel Meyer, Pam Golding Properties area principal, says over the past two years there’s been a consistent demand for vacant land in all areas, with plots typically selling between R150 000 and R2 million, and mainly for freehold land, or land in freehold estates.

Says Meyer: “Now is certainly a good time to buy and build as Port Alfred is experiencing a stock shortage of existing homes across all price brackets, and land is still obtainable at accessible prices. Good opportunities also exist for aspiring or seasoned developers looking to enter the residential market with two or three-bedroomed units in established areas. We currently have a variety of vacant land options ranging from approximately R180 000 for a single residential plot of around 800 sqm to R2 million for 14,000 sqm of development ground.

“Currently, those purchasing vacant land are doing so with a vision in mind – either permanent relocation or a holiday home, with most emanating from upcountry, from areas such as Bloemfontein and the entire Gauteng region, and securing land now in order to build in a few years. Those looking to build immediately intend to relocate permanently. The greater demand in our area is for freehold land in excess of 700 sqm, with some coastal view or outlook.”

Port Alfred’s main appeal for buyers is the coastal lifestyle, with a smaller town and close amenities allowing for easy, simplified living in the heart of nature, and with the work-from-home trend still very evident.

Adds Meyer: “We have seen a notable increase in property values year-on-year due to the heightened demand for residential stock across all price brackets. For example, a four-bedroom, three-bathroom, two-garage property which sold for R2.1 million in 2018, recently sold within a week for R2.5 million – this without any major improvements.

“Port Alfred is renowned for the Royal Alfred Marina, the beachfront and the Kowie River, however, there is currently very little waterfront stock available. Entry-level prices of homes on the sought-after Marina have increased significantly from around R3.2 million in 2019 to R4.59 million at present.”

In Kenton-on-Sea, Pam Golding Properties area principal Michael Wilmot reports good demand for vacant land as it is well priced, ranging from R250 000 to R3 million for erven mainly from 500-800sqm in size, in prime locations such as Kenton Eco Estate, which is especially popular among younger home purchasers.

Says Wilmot: “A key driver of vacant plot sales is that there are currently very few homes available under R1.5 million. Coupled with this, our award-winning agent Tracey Bull sold about 90 stands during the past year in Boknes and Cannon Rocks, making this a hotspot for property on the Sunshine Coast. A new shopping mall, Kariega Centre has opened at the entrance to Kenton, while the Sunshine Coast Spar here has added a further 420sqm to their shopping complex, enhancing the appeal of this area.

“Our buyers are from all of the regions in South Africa, including the Eastern Cape and Gauteng, and expatriates living overseas, wanting to keep a foot in Africa in a secure environment such as Kenton Eco Estate. One of the major drawcards for Kenton is the secure lifestyle on offer. Increased house prices are definitely being achieved, with recorded sales in Kenton of up to R14 million. Beachfront properties in Boknes and Cannon Rocks are available, starting at R4.85 million.”

Commenting further on the market in the Kenton area, Wilmot says the area is experiencing tremendous growth, as there are currently in excess of 50 homes under construction.

The Sunshine Coast is home to 10 rivers and 150 kilometres of unspoilt coastline, with surrounding malaria-free Big 5 Game Reserves, offering the very best of “Beach and Bush”.

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