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Golf estates mushrooming in EC

30 Jan 2008
Golf estate living has become a popular lifestyle choice and with more than 60 golf estates in South Africa, buyers now have a wide range of choices.

Buyers can now choose between combining a round of golf with equestrian activities, trout fishing, game drives or simply enjoying fresh country air: all on the front lawn of plush and secure properties.

The natural diversity of the Eastern Cape landscape, ranging from rugged game reserves to rolling hills overlooking unspoilt beaches, offers the perfect setting for the development of world class golf estates. From East London to Katberg, Alicedale and Port Elizabeth, to Jeffreys Bay and St Francis, golf estate living is gaining popularity at a rapid pace amongst property shoppers.

East London home to various golf estates

On the outskirts of East London a proposed 420 hectares golf-and-nature estate, the Gqunube Golf Estate, is expected to become a pace-setting golfing suburb when completed towards the end of 2009.

This R2bn project, which is the brainchild of the Johannesburg-based black economic empowerment (BEE) developers, the Billion Group, is only one of several new golf estate developments planned for the area, with the Chintsa River Golf Estate the first to have been launched.

Alicedale no sleepy town

Within a 60 minute drive from Port Elizabeth, the former railway town of Alicedale is home to Bushman Sands, a Gary Player designed golf course surrounded by the Shamwari and Bushman Sands game reserves.

A health spa, modern sports centre and conference facilities are incorporated in the estate.

Freehold stands of 600sq m and opening onto the fairways, sell from R375k to R695k, which makes it accessible to buyers across the different price segments of the property market.

Katberg Eco Golf Estate

Situated in the Winterberg Mountains, the Katberg Eco Golf Estate, operated by the Kat Leisure Group, offers various ownership options.

Freestanding plots in this prestigious golf estate, which offers activities such as horse riding and fly fishing, are priced from R350k upwards and plot-sizes range from 790sq m to 1,200sq m. Owners are obliged to build according to the 1820 architectural design as prescribed by the estate and within a period of five years from purchasing a stand.

But, says Jean Botha of Destination Golf in Port Elizabeth, who is heading the marketing of the Kat Leisure Group's various golf estates, "we also offer the option of fractional ownership as an alternative method of securing a property investment".

According to Botha Forbes Magazine voted fractional ownership as one of the 10 property ownership trends for 2008 and, he says, "during the festive season we have seen an overwhelming amount of inquiries about this type of ownership followed by a steady stream of sales, both of fractional title as well as freestanding units".

Selling from R125k upwards for a two-bedroom mountain villa, fractional ownership offers buyers a yearly two-week period in the estate, including full access to all hotel activities.

Plans to develop the Queenstown Golf Club into a golf estate on the scale of the Katberg Eco Golf Estate and Simola, the Kat Leisure Group's signature golf estate in Knysna, are in the pipeline and can be expected to be completed by next year, says Botha, who points out that this will be the first golf estate development in the Queenstown-area.

Golf in the city

Port Elizabeth's first residential golf development, the Wedgwood Golf and Country Estate, which boasts an 18-hole golf course on par with world-class standards, was launched in May last year and offers a lifestyle of country living on the outskirts of the city, but within easy access to all modern facilities.

At the time of launch, almost 500 spacious golf course plots as well as 307 freehold retirement homes and 50 sectional title units were available and David Miller, sales manager of Wedgewood Golf and Country Estate, confirms that there are still plots, priced under R750k, for sale.

In the heart of the city lies Little Walmer Golf Estate, consisting of 29 stands clustered in three villages with sizes ranging from 600sq m to 2,486sq m.

This historic course, which overlooks the Baakens Valley Conservation Green Belt, the largest city green belt in the country, was founded in 1997 and lies within 10 minutes from the business district and 10 minutes from the airport and shopping centers and in the heart of the upmarket Upper Walmer suburb.

Jubilee Lakes almost sold out

A Jack Niklaus designed 18-hole golf course, upmarket estate residences in-between lakes and walking trails: this is what Jubilee Lakes Golf and Country Estates in Jeffreys Bay, an almost 1,000 hectare development, will offer on completion.

Facilities will include tennis and squash courts, a gymnasium, an equestrian centre and exercise areas, bowling green, a heated swimming pool and walking trails, while the Village Centre will offer a nursery lifestyle centre, lifestyle retail outlets, a commercial gym, private schools both primary and secondary, restaurants, sectional title offices, private medical suites, hotel and conference facilities and a retirement village.

According to Les Oliver, principal of IPC St Francis, a staggering 650 of the 750 stands which was launched in November last year, have been secured. "The response was overwhelming and we had a 100% success rate on all our offers," says Oliver.

At entry-level, plots measuring 350sq m sell from R299k up to R2m for plots exceeding 1,000sq m and bordering on the golf course and lakes.

The first building phase, restricted to Karoo Farmstyle dwelling-types, is expected to commence soon and transfer will take place in the first half of 2009.

St. Francis Links reaps awards

And as if buyers interested in golf estate living are not spoilt enough for choice, St Francis Links has recently been voted "Best New Course in South Africa" and legendary golfer Jack Niklaus has been quoted naming it "one of the best of its kind in the world".

Carrying a price tag of R595k for stands measuring 900sq m, up to R2,6m for 1,600sq m stands, buyers have snapped up the opportunity to invest in a world-class golf estate set in a quaint village and, says Byron Andrews of Pam Golding St Francis, "only 40 stands are left, while 10 houses have been fully completed, with 30 more currently under construction".

According to Andrews interest in re-sales is on the up with a mixture of inland, overseas and local buyers showing keen interest to secure properties in the estate. - Mariana Martin

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