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Spotlight on Port Elizabeth

Spotlight on Port Elizabeth

‘The cost of living in Port Elizabeth is much lower than other cities around the country,’ says Charlotte Vermaak of Chas Everitt International Nelson Mandela Bay, ‘but the quality of life is exceptional. Even though it’s a city, you are still 10 to 15 minutes away from everything. There is no traffic congestion, and crime is still relatively low in comparison with other major cities.

‘There are ample opportunities for giving children a healthy upbringing, including many beaches and the Addo Elephant National Park,’ she continues. It is an ideal city for raising a family, with its range of excellent schools, she adds.

Development is set to explode in a few nodes, the most far-reaching being the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), which is likely to change the face of the city. ‘Coega has made history by signing 10 investors at an investment value of more than R1,8 billion, which will attract thousands of job seekers and create massive demand for accommodation,’ says Vermaak. The Baywest precinct will be rolled out over the next 10 to 15 years and will include 4 000 dwellings, secure office parks, a light-industrial node and conservation areas, she says. ‘On completion, it will rival Sandton and Century City.’


According to Justin Kreusch, Pam Golding Properties agent in Port Elizabeth, the Boardwalk entertainment centre in Summerstrand is getting a R1-billion makeover. ‘Building has yet to start, but we are expecting most national brands to form part of the tenant mix.’

The beach plays a big role in life in this Eastern Cape city, says Nikki Strooh of Harcourts Beachfront, but opportunities to live in the seaside suburbs of Humewood, Summerstrand and Walmer are limited as there is a dearth of development land in these popular areas. There is huge demand for housing in the suburbs surrounding Summerstrand and this is being answered by a number of developers. Several new developments are under way in South End, including Shumbalala Estate, with two- and three-bedroom properties from R770 000 to R1,327 million, and Stanbury Park, a retirement village with frail care, where homes are selling for between R799 000 and R1,47 million.

One of the most exciting projects is the new suburb of Westbrook, which is being developed by Amdec. ‘It’s a R4-billion mixed-use development on 128 hectares of open land which will have a new Life Mercantile hospital and a Curro private school nearby. Oak Ridge is the first residential node under development and will offer 222 Tuscan-style homes and semidetached units set on pristine grounds,’ Vermaak says.

Crossways Farm Village, on the other hand, has revived the concept of farm living, where communities look to the land for their daily needs, says sales consultant Christo Slabbert of RE/MAX. Halfway between PE and Jeffreys Bay, Crossways is nestled in the foothills of the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve. Built on a working farm, 17 residences have been completed and plots are available from R265 000 to R1,9 million.


Who’s buying and what are they paying?

A large percentage of PE’s population are salaried individuals working in the automotive industry who were prevented from becoming homeowners by a poor economic outlook. ‘But there is a turnaround in the fortunes of PE as we see large investments being made in new malls, such as the Bay West Mall, which will be opening at the end of May 2015,’ says Vermaak.

‘Many of our clients are people who are moving out of the townships and into previously white suburbs. We have seen an increase in the number of first-time buyers, and as a result, the biggest portion of properties currently on the market fall within the R650 000 and R1,2-million bracket.

‘Some of the suburbs that house properties at these prices are Lorraine, Providential, Richmond Hill, Kamma Park, Rowallan Park, Charlo, Westering, Lovemore Park, Humewood, Framesby, Kamma Heights and Sherwood.

‘The lower-priced properties are selling well, while those over R5 million are selling a lot slower,’ Vermaak says.

PE’s housing backlog is being delivered a decisive blow by the R6-billion Coega Ridge Development, which is expected to add 40 000 new units to the city’s stock.

Then there is the Walmer Link development and Sakhasonke Village, which are targeting buyers earning salaries between R1 500 and R15 000. Salisbury Park will offer 70 freestanding two- and three-bedroom homes ranging from R679 000 to R889 000.

Strooh reports that the off-plan development Humewood Villas is proving very popular. ‘The units sold at prices from R775 000 to R875 000, a price range currently in very high demand in the beachfront area, especially among young buyers and investors.’


Where to eat, drink and shop…

For 100% natural munchies, visit Crossways Country Kitchen. For traditional fine dining on the beachfront, visit Ginger Restaurant. Wicker Woods is based in an atmospheric old house, offering freshly inspired dishes daily on a chalkboard menu. For great curries, you can’t beat Royal Delhi, which is located in a simple renovated house in central PE. Fushin Sushi & Eastern Cuisine is situated on the Stanley Street restaurant strip in Richmond Hill and serves Norwegian salmon, Australian eel, soft-shell crab and Peruvian scallops. Vovo Telo bakery and cafe originated in PE. Tabú Grill is part of the outstanding Radisson Blu hotel and is situated in Summerstrand, overlooking the ocean.


R / V: resident’s view

Kate Saunders, administration assistant, Crossways Country Kitchen

I moved from George to PE for my three children. We are here for Woodridge, a dynamic farm school that takes an experiential-learning approach. The classes are small and it is an international school. PE gives us the best of both worlds – the farm, the beach and the city within easy reach. We will be moving to Crossways Farm Village because the area has so much to offer our kids.


Brian Bezuidenhout, businessman, father of three, grandfather of two

I was born and raised in PE and at the age of 35 I went to Joburg to further my career but returned six years later in search of the family values and quality of life provided by the city. I’ve lived all over the city and now stay in a quiet village on the coast with 180° views, called Blue Horizon Bay. It is far from the madding crowd but only 20 minutes from the CBD. The advantage of living here is that it has all the big-city amenities and the culture of a small town; there is consistency in our doctors, pharmacists, auditors, attorneys and other service providers. We are all on first-name terms, and that provides great comfort.


Port Elizabeth at a glance

  • R828 000 average freehold sales price
  • R582 000 average sectional title sales price
  • 60 262 number of freehold properties
  • 71,47% freehold properties
  • 20 419 number of sectional title properties
  • 24,22% sectional title properties
  • 3 633 number of estate properties
  • 4,31% estate properties
  • 6% recent buyers aged 18 to 35
  • 20% recent buyers aged 36 to 49
  • 36% recent buyers aged 50 to 64
  • 37% recent buyers aged 65 or older
  • R24 000–R37 000 average household income range

Source: Lightstone

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TextAndrea Vinassa
Photographs iStock, supplied


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