With the accolade for the city with Best Quality of Life in South Africa (Source: Numbeo online global database) firmly tucked under its belt in 2019, George on the world-renowned Garden Route is not surprisingly, increasingly popular among people relocating for just that reason – a better lifestyle.
Says Stephen Murray, Pam Golding Properties area manager in George: “We are definitely seeing an increasing gravitation to this region. The de facto capital of the Garden Route and undoubtedly its largest urban centre – but without the traffic congestion factor – George offers a quiet and tranquil, not to mention picturesque, alternative to city living, particularly for those who revel in the outdoors. And with its wide selection of residential properties, it caters for all price sectors, ranging from below R2 million to even upwards of R20 million at the very top end.
“Apart from a growing number first-time purchasers, plus a mix of home buyers from various age groups, properties here have become a firm favourite among retirees due to the relaxed atmosphere and spectacular scenery which encompasses the Outeniqua Mountains, rivers, forests, beaches and rich farmlands. In addition to local buyers already happily entrenched in the George area, home purchasers are drawn from Gauteng, elsewhere in the Western Cape – including Cape Town, followed by Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape, while overseas buyers include those from the USA, Germany and UK.
“In fact,” says Murray, “over the past year or two we’ve seen approximately 50% of our buyers emanating from outside the Garden Route region. The allure of the water’s edge, whether it be the beachfront or clifftops, or the 8km of beaches and inland lakes of Wilderness, this region’s surroundings and lifestyle offering are factors attracting permanent residential buyers from elsewhere.”
Murray says for many buyers, security is top of mind coupled with a sense of space, especially in light of the lockdown restrictions, and so gated estates are proving popular, such as Kingswood Golf Estate, Welgelegen Estate, Kraaibosch Country Estates and world-famous Fancourt. “We are seeing a large number of cash buyers in these estates, where entry level prices start from R650 000 and R1.7 million, and completed homes range from R2.8 million to R26.5 million. Enabling multi-generational living, a number of gated estate developments have made provision for retirement developments within the existing estates. Aside from these sought-after estates, the average price band for freestanding family homes in George varies from an affordable R1.05 million for a home in a townhouse complex, and then ranges from R1.8 million to R7million in the upmarket suburbs.”
With its own international airport and situated in the hub of the country’s golfing mecca, George is only four-and-a-half hours’ drive from Cape Town and about four from Port Elizabeth. Great food, mountain biking, hiking, cycling, water sports, medical facilities and good schools are a drawcard for those making a lifestyle decision to relocate from major metropoles – a trend evident even prior to lockdown and currently, increasingly so, adds Murray.
Ranked second for the Best Quality of Life – and rated highest in terms of healthcare – is Knysna, another Garden Route area which enjoys a proliferation of homes within secure estates in idyllic environs.
Just 50km from George, Knysna – and nearby Plettenberg Bay – are enjoying solid demand for homes across the price spectrum, with the buyers currently from South Africa’s metros, predominantly Johannesburg. Says Gordon Shutte, Pam Golding Properties area principal: “They are mainly interested in acquiring vacant land in order to build their dream homes, especially in security estates but also in the Heads in Knysna and Keurbooms in Plett. Properties across the board are selling, from R250 000 TO R9.5 million for vacant plots, to houses which are active up to R15 million and particularly at the R5 million mark.
“Our sales are currently well up on same period last year. Other areas highly sought after include Belvidere, Fernwood Estate, Simola Golf Estate, Pezula Private Estate, Pezula Golf Estate, Thesen Islands and Leisure Isle in Knysna and Whale Rock, Brackenridge Estate and Schoongezicht Estate in Plett, plus just about anywhere with ocean views.”
Caption Pezula R15.8m: Situated on a cliff edge in Pezula Golf Estate, overlooking Cove Beach, this elegant and spacious three-bedroom house in Knysna has large windows to fully appreciate the views. Superbly furnished, it includes a Zen garden and braai area, rimless solar-heated pool, solar geysers and sauna and is marketed by Pam Golding Properties at R15.8 million.