Said to have the highest number of sunny days in South Africa, the Eastern Cape coastal region – or Sunshine Coast – is seeing a continued influx of home buyers acquiring property with a view to retirement either now or in the not-too-distant future, reports Pam Golding Properties.
The company says value for money coupled with peaceful, scenic locations away from the stresses of city living – particularly amid lockdowns – is certainly helping drive the over 50s and those in their 60s to appealing destinations such as Kenton on Sea, St Francis Bay, Port Alfred, Jeffreys Bay, the East Coast of East London and Gqeberha.
With house price inflation in the Eastern Cape region averaging 5.85% last year, outperforming the three major regions since the start of 2020, growth in prices continued to strengthen into 2021, which means that the region is leading the market recovery, said Sandra Gordon, Pam Golding Properties senior research analyst.
She said that the smaller towns within the Eastern Cape tend to have a larger percentage of homeowners who are retirees.
“Probably close to half our permanent population are retirees,” said Michael Wilmot, Pam Golding Properties area principal in the sought-after holiday destination of Kenton on Sea.
“New buyers are buying now as a leisure getaway with plans to relocate here on retirement. They are mainly investing from approximately R1.5 million to R3.5 million, typically freestanding homes or homes in estates. The semigration market is also expanding for those who are still economically active.”
Port Alfred, with its appealing Marina and village ambience, has always been a popular retirement destination with a consistent number of retirees moving into the area, said Isobel Meyer, the company’s area principal.
“People in their mid-50s are planning and buying with retirement in mind, with the advantage that if they buy now, they can earn a good return on investment via either long or short-term rentals which are in healthy demand, and retire here later.
“Currently, such buyers are looking across the board for properties priced anywhere from R650,000 for sectional title units to R6 million Marina homes. They prioritise homes that offer good security and are located close to amenities. There is also a high demand for retirement villages with or without assisted living facilities and ideally priced between R850.000 and R2 million.”
Meyer said that across the market, in general, is a high demand for properties that offer the potential to generate additional income through a separate flat or bedsitter, which are often tenanted by working singles, young couples and mostly students from either the 43 Air School or Stenden University.
“While coastal semigration forms a large part of our buyer pool, and specifically as a result of Covid, there has definitely been an increase in the number of individuals looking to buy here with a view to fast-tracking early retirement and work from home.”
This area, Meyer said, still offers exceptional value for money to home buyers, with entry-level sectional title units starting from R500,000 for a two-bedroom, one-bathroom unit with a carport, and entry-level freehold units from R680,000 for two-bedroom, one-bathroom semi-detached with a carport.
“Our larger family homes start from about R1.25 million for a three or four-bedroom home with two bathrooms and single or double garaging, while secure, freehold estate living can be had from R1.65 million to R32 million, depending on the size and location.”
St Francis Bay, with its winding canals, numerous waterfront homes and golf estate, St Francis Links, is also a magnet for home buyers, including retirees, said Pam Golding Properties area principal Richard Arderne. “A warm, close-knit community, this is already home to several retirees, including those who have relocated for partial retirement and may work from home.
“They like the security offered by St Francis Links, and generally the idyllic but active lifestyle with golf, boating, fishing, surfing, paddling, MTB and other activities on their doorsteps such as walks, birding, bowls and bridge. Some may acquire a home with a separate cottage that can be rented out.
“Apartments in St Francis Bay sell between R650,000 and around R2.5 million, houses from approximately R1.3 million and R15 million, and plots from R200,000 to R600,000 and upwards. Such is the demand that our sales for the last 12 months are more than double the previous 12 months.”
Meanwhile, in renowned surfing spot Jeffreys Bay, Pam Golding Properties manager Jaco Bothma said while traditionally a retirement town, more people, in general, are moving into the town – including those acquiring a leisure home to retire to in the future.
“Retirees look in areas like Wavecrest and Eden Glen retirement village in the price range from R1.8 million to R2.5 million, with the construction of a new hospital which is underway a major drawcard for this sector of the market, which will certainly further increase demand.”
Sean Coetzee, the company’s area principal in East London, said the city’s East Coast is a unique area that is progressively morphing from a once sleepy holiday resort to a thriving lifestyle suburb of East London.
“Gated coastal estates are now firmly established in the area with many having already sold 80% of their stands. The latest addition to the area is Olivewood Private Golf Estate, which is now also in the process of launching its retirement village, where stands are selling from R318,000 and houses from R1.572 million.
“Positively, the number of new families moving to the East Coast has also fuelled the growth of many new local businesses in the area as well as several newly-opened schools. The increase in local businesses in the area has reduced the need to travel to East London for essential services, thereby making the area more attractive to retirees wishing to relocate from the city to a more relaxed lifestyle.”
With several hospitals, Gqeberha’s retirement villages mostly have long waiting lists, said Pam Golding Properties area principal, Justin Kreusch. “There is certainly a great shortage of retirement developments, with the ‘sweet spot’ for this market probably between R700,000 and R1.2 million.”
“Generally, across the property marketplace, in terms of freestanding accommodation, we find retirees seeking homes under R1.5 million, which would fetch a two or three-bedroom townhouse, and you can also even acquire a two-bedroom unit for under R1 million.
“As far as houses go properties under R2 million are still readily available, with a minimum of three bedrooms and often four, a large garden and a pool,” said Kreusch.