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Affordable seaside living in East London

15 Feb 2016

The property market in East London in the Eastern Cape has just about everything a first-time buyer could wish for: affordability, lifestyle amenities in abundance and many new developments to choose from.

This three bedroom house in Greenfields, East London, has two reception rooms. It is selling for R895 000 - click here to view.

This is according to Clinton Krouse, owner of the Chas Everitt International franchise in East London, who says this has been clearly reflected in a steady volume of sales over the past 12 months, even though the fortunes of the local market are still largely tied to those of the manufacturing sector, which experienced a slowdown in 2015.

Krouse says affordability is a big drawcard for East London, even though people in this area don’t usually earn as much as in bigger cities.

The latest Absa Housing review shows, for example, that even though the average house price here rose by more than 24% last year, it is still only the second highest among South Africa’s major metros at R1.38 million - with Port Elizabeth being the lowest at R1.04 million.

The Absa figures also show that at the end of 2015, the average price of a small home in East London was R750 000, R1.3 million for a medium-sized home and R1.9 million for a large home.

By contrast, Krouse says the average price of a small home in Cape Town, the most expensive metro, was R1.22 million, and prices for medium and large houses were R1.73 million and R2.43 million respectively, so it is no surprise that East London is an increasingly popular choice for young families and retirees.

“This city also enjoys a laid-back, seaside lifestyle and we find that many people who were born and raised in this area but left to work in other cities are now returning in search of a less hectic schedule,” he says.

This property in Beacon Bay offers four bedrooms, three reception rooms and patio. It is on sale for R3.25 million - click here to view.

“These buyers generally opt for suburbs like Beacon Bay, Gonubie, Dorchester Heights and Nahoon Valley Park, all of which offer good value-for-money homes and a wholesome environment in which to raise children.”

Krouse says, of course, it doesn’t hurt that the city is home to several of South Africa’s most highly-rated schools, and also boasts many great shopping, entertainment and sports venues, as well as both river and beach ‘playgrounds’.

However, even more important is the fact that the local economy is becoming more complex and starting to offer a more diverse range of job and business opportunities.

Meanwhile, he says the East London market, like that of many SA cities, is being boosted by rapid urbanisation.

“It is the main catchment area for people relocating from the rural areas of the Eastern Cape and we are clearly seeing a changing demographic with more young people coming here to find work, get settled and buy their first homes,” he says.

This three bedroom house in Gonubie has an open-plan kitchen. It is on the market for R1.395 million - click here to view.

“And thirdly, our market has benefited over the past year from a strong upgrading trend, thanks to rising prices at the lower end that have made it possible for many existing owners to sell at a profit and move up the property ladder.”

However, he says this may become more subdued this year as household budgets come under pressure and new developments coming to market slow the pace of price increases.

Krouse says developers are active in East London at the moment, and are delivering sorely-needed new stock of all types and in all price ranges, but especially in the affordable housing sector.

“We are currently marketing a new development in Greenfields. It offers three bedroom, two bathroom townhouses of various sizes at prices from around R850 000, while other new projects now on offer include Gonubie Palms, Calypso Gardens, Umlele Heights, The Village in Kidds Beach, Cypraea Sands Estate and  Balugha Estates,” he says.

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