Residential sales in Summerstrand, arguably Port Elizabeth’s most sought-after beachside suburb, rose by more than R111 million in 2014 compared with 2013.
That’s according to Ian Olivier, area principal of Pam Golding Properties Port Elizabeth, who says the market’s total value of sales in the area increased by 33 percent, from R345 292 200 (233 units) in 2013 to R456 665 361 (261 units) last year.
Olivier, who has just opened an office in the Seagate Centre in Summerstrand, attributes the rise in sales volumes in part to the multi-million rand upgrade of the beachfront, “a key attraction for buyers wanting a coastal lifestyle within easy commuting distance of the city.”
The refurbishing of the beachfront, characterised by water features, landscaped gardens, paved walkways, skate and car parks, and an upgraded pier, has significantly improved the aesthetics and safety of the area as well as public access to the soft, clean beaches and safe swimming zones for which Summerstrand has long been popular, says Olivier. “It’s a huge attraction for families, walkers, runners, water sports lovers, locals and tourists, and one of the main reasons that people want to buy and live here.”
Aside from the positive impact the upgrade has had on Summerstrand, it’s also boosted the appeal of the city as a whole, continues Olivier. “In his speech at the NMB Investor Seminar earlier this year, Dr Pierre Voges, CEO of the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) said Port Elizabeth has many of the attributes of the ‘perfect city’ as described by the economics editor of Channel 4 News Paul Mason after the release of The Economist’s 2014 Liveability Ranking.”
“Number one on his list was proximity to the sea or a body of water warm enough to swim in. Summerstrand’s sea temperatures range from 14 to 20 degrees Celsius in winter and 18 to 21 degrees Celsius in summer, making it possible for year-round surfing and even swimming.”
Summerstrand also ticks the boxes relating to the mobilisation of global capital and local savings, theatre and entertainment offerings, bicycle lanes, clubs, bars and restaurants and democratic political culture, believes Olivier. “And commuting from Summerstrand is extremely easy with its three major access routes.”
Adds Pam Golding Properties local area specialist Debbie Pughe-Parry: “The Summerstrand lifestyle with its temperate climate is unsurpassed. Strolling along the seafront, which follows a 5km route from Humewood in the northwest to the beach at Pipe and Flat Rocks in the south and beyond, you are never alone; swimming in the sea, watching the sun rise and set… these are daily joys.”
Another key market driver is the area’s broad educational offering, continues Olivier, which boasts a number of excellent primary and high schools as well as the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).
Pughe-Parry pegs the average Summerstrand house price at around R1.8 million, which would typically buy a smaller property or one requiring renovation or modernising. Top-end homes in the most sought-after roads such Brighton Drive and the lower avenues – “always more in demand owing to their proximity to the beach” – realise significantly more: the most expensive home sold in Summerstrand to date was in Brighton Drive for R7.5 million, and Pughe-Parry is currently marketing a “phenomenal” home in the lower avenues for R9.9 million.
Homes in enclaves around the schools are also very popular for obvious reasons, she adds.
While stock with selling tags of R2.5 million and more is relatively plentiful at the moment, there is a serious shortage of homes in the R1.8 million – R2.5 million price band. “Bargains are snapped up very quickly – usually within two weeks – if well-positioned and well-priced,” she says.
With its vast tracts of land around the University and behind The Boardwalk Casino & Entertainment World, Pughe-Parry says Summerstrand has huge potential for development. “I believe there is scope for growth in the suburb and while rezoning is usually required for changing the usage of a property, it’s not necessarily a negative when due process is followed.”
There is also scope to buy subdivisions as the trend for large, high maintenance properties diminishes. “Plots in the residential sector of Summerstrand range from 600m² to over 2000m² in size which is large by modern standards. We’re seeing a trend for people to move to smaller properties, where family time is spent increasingly on the beachfront rather than in the garden, thereby eliminating the need for recreational facilities at home,” she comments.
Another prime spot for development is along Marine Drive towards the Humewood Golf Course, a stretch she says is particularly suited to high-rise apartments and hotels. “We’re marketing a prime property on Marine Drive at the moment, with the land being the same size as the adjacent “The Bay”, a magnificent development of luxury apartments where units stretch across an entire floor and enjoy outstanding sea views,” says Pughe-Parry, whose most recent sale there was for R6.5 million.
In Brookes Hill, there are also a number of tracts of land for sale. This area is ideal for corporate and residential development, with zoning already in place, she says. “It would also be perfect for a hotel development, with its spectacular views over the harbour and bay.”
For those looking at affordability in what is essentially an upper income suburb, Summerstrand has some surprisingly well-priced offerings, she continues. Aside from the odd freehold bargain that pops up now and again, there is also Amadada Leisure Village, a residential security complex within walking distance of the King’s and Humewood Beaches as well as the sea pool, restaurants and weekend markets. With plots starting at just R300 000, budget-conscious buyers can opt for a modern, architect-designed home within a secure, village-style environment with developed roads, landscaped gardens, communal pool and clubhouse.
There is also strong demand for apartments and sectional title units from investors and couples scaling down or retiring, Olivier says. “They want secure buildings on the sea front, and ideally upmarket options such as Retiefplein, The Bay, and Berkeley and Grosvenor Courts to mention but a few – apartment blocks that are well run with lifts and backup generators. A case in point is the Seagull, a building that was bought for R31 million and is undergoing refurbishment for this purpose.
Concludes Olivier: “From an investment perspective, you can’t go wrong with coastal property, which typically has a higher resale value, is in constant demand countrywide and will always be a foremost lifestyle choice.”
For further information contact Ian Olivier of Pam Golding Properties Port Elizabeth on 041 3739955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.