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Garden Route and Eastern Cape coastline property

30 Apr 2015

A surge in uptake in vacant land along the Garden Route and Eastern Cape coastline provides a clear indicator of a market turnaround in these coastal locations, with buyers looking to acquire stands for diverse reasons, including primary residences, retirement, leisure and investment.

Situated in Pinnacle Point Golf Estate, this vacant stand offers 1 051sqm of land, spectacular views and access to the clubhouse. It is on the market for R1.2 million – click here to view.

This is according to Pam Golding Properties’ (PGP) area Principal, Keith Murray, who says in Mossel Bay on the Garden Route, upcountry buyers are looking at acquiring vacant land, with enquiries for locations ranging from the Monte Christo area all the way through to Nautilus Bay and Vleesbaai, at prices varying from R280 000 up to R1.5 million.

He says these buyers are looking at building over buying secondhand homes, saying it makes financial sense to build, as currently many of the existing homes are still overpriced.

Murray says their sales of vacant land range in price from R250 000 for about 700sqm to R650 000 for approximately 650sqm in Mossel Bay Golf Estate and Pinnacle Point Beach & Golf Resort, to up to R1.85 million for up to 1 200sqm.

Buyers are mostly from Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and upcountry towns, and are a mix of those buying leisure properties, retirement and permanent homes. They seek land in various areas, from residential suburbs to golf estates and gated communities, he says.

This Pezula Private Estate vacant stand offers 4 315sqm of land and lagoon views. It is priced at R1.2 million – click here to view.

“What we are seeing is that price is more of a motivating factor than location, and that buyers have more appetite to invest long term, preferring to build exactly what they want.”

Murray says golf estates are perceived to be a safer environment because of the access control, especially for upcountry buyers who are used to living in some form of an estate.

He says the market for completed homes is mainly in the R1.2 million to R1.6 million price band, largely for freestanding homes, with buyers including locals and those from Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Buyers prefer to build

Vacant land is also in demand at renowned Fancourt near George. Stephen Murray, area manager for PGP in George, says people are buying land, as the number of existing homes on the market is low, and so they are opting to build according to their own specific needs, whether these are second homes or primary residences.

Situated in Sedgefield, this vacant stand offers 868sqm of land, indigenous trees and distant sea views. It is on the market for R699 000 – click here to view.

In Kingswood Golf Estate buyers acquiring vacant land are mostly looking to build primary residences, this also includes some investors who have picked up on the shortage of built homes within this estate, and are looking to cater for the demand.

“During 2014, sales prices of vacant land in Kingswood were generally between R350 000 and R800 000, while our analysis of transfers over the past four years from 2011 to 2014 (using Lightstone statistics) reflects that on average a vacant stand positioned on a fairway attracts a premium of about 39%, with offers being received in the R1.4 million mark.”

Murray says during 2014 in Kraaibosch Manor and Kraaibosch Estate, sales prices were in the main price bracket of R300 000 to R500 000, and these vacant stands were bought with the view of building permanent residences.

Most buyers of vacant land in their vicinity are from Gauteng and the Western Cape, as well as those who have been renting in the Garden Route after relocating, in order to settle in the area before making a buying decision, he says.

This Kingswood Golf Estate vacant stand offers 593sqm of land and mountain views. It is currently priced at R390 000 – click here to view.

The demand for vacant land has been fuelled in part by the perception of security within a gated estate, and partly because of the lack of available houses in certain price ranges within the general market place, he says.

Highest price achieved for a stand in St Francis Links

In St Francis Links in the Eastern Cape, PGP area principal, Richard Arderne, says the sale of the highest priced stand since 2008 in St Francis Links golf estate was a stand of 1 273sqm, which fetched R1.4 million. This exceeded the previous highest price of R1.25 million for a stand which sold in 2012.

In Port St Francis, PGP also recently sold the highest priced residential property in the area, a four storey townhouse with four en suite bedrooms, which fetched R3.75 million, exceeding the previous highest price of R3.5 million for a four bedroom apartment which sold in 2007.

“The past financial year to 28 February 2015 has seen us achieve our highest ever sales turnover of R105 million. We also concluded a record number of sales, 65 units in total, comprising 29 houses, 29 stands and seven apartments, ranging from R125 000 for stands to R4.5 million for canal houses.”

Arderne says about a third of their sales were to local St Francis Bay residents, with other buyers from Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban buying leisure property, Port Elizabeth families acquiring weekend getaways, and couples in their 50s and 60s buying for semi- or full retirement.

Although turnover is up, prices remain under pressure with more sellers than buyers at present, he says.

Plan approvals up in Knysna

Ling Dobson, PGP area principal in Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, says there has been a 35% increase in plan approvals in Knysna over the past 12 months to March 2015, with 12 new builds commencing in Pezula Private Estate this year.

Vacant stands in this estate are selling in the price range from R800 000 right up to R16 million for a large site of 11 135sqm, with 400sqm to 1 600sqm stands in Fernwood Private Estate, which launched in December 2014, selling from R375 000 up to R1.95 million and with construction of the first home to commence in May this year.

In the ‘Woodlands’ development in Simola Golf & Country Estate, ground has already broken for the first home.

“Buyers are from around the country, including the Garden Route, Cape Town and surrounds, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.”

Furthermore, Dobson says there has been buoyant activity in the R4 million upwards price band in the suburbs of Rexford, Eastford, Leisure Isle, Thesens Islands, Brenton on Lake and Brenton on Sea, and the Knysna CBD, while completed golf estate homes are being mopped up in the R2 million to R3 million price range.

Top-end homes sold include a R9.5 million nine bedroom home on The Heads and an R8.9 million five bedroom home in Pezula Golf Estate.

Return of retirement buyers in Sedgefield

James McNaughton, PGP’s local area principal, says in Sedgefield retirement home buyers have rebounded into the market with renewed vigour, along with younger buyers and ‘hobby’ farmers. He says the market has improved in the price range largely up to R2.6 million, with even a few cash buyers above R2.5 million, and with selective buyers in the upper price range seeking to discount prices.

“Interest has picked up, and sellers are becoming more realistic and adjusting prices accordingly. For example, stands on the seafront are now being offered from R1.4 million, while houses range from R3.5 million to R8.95 million.”

McNoughton says they recently sold a lagoon-front property for R3.2 million and a 50ha lifestyle farm with 1km river frontage on the Goukamma River for R7.8 million.

McNaughton says the bulk of home buyers are from Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Port Elizabeth and other upcountry locations.

Generally they attract the 50 to 70 age group, however, there is an increasing number of younger couples looking to buy for the future, some looking to rent as an interim measure, contributing towards the current shortage of rental properties in the R4 500 to R6 000 per month price range, he says.

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