Historically, statistical reports on residential property price appreciation and market activity tend to focus on the major metros and hubs in South Africa.
However, says Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property Group, in recent years it’s become apparent that there are numerous towns which cannot be underestimated from a medium to long-term capital growth perspective, not to mention lifestyle and value for money – in many instances resulting in an influx of younger buyers.
“Take George for instance, with its own airport and extensive facilities and amenities including good schools. This is considered the ‘capital’ of the Garden Route , with buoyant activity in recent years. By extension it attracts business people wanting to relocate, semigrators and retirees seeking a gentler way of life in an appealing environment, among others, all looking to acquire primary residences or leisure property with a view to future relocation.”
According to Lightstone stats, recent buyers (February 2021 to January 2022) are widely distributed across all age groups, suggesting that George’s housing market holds broad appeal. However, with 43% of recent buyers falling into the 36-49 age category, and a further 16% young adults (18 – 35) it seems the town is also attracting a large number of young professionals and families.
Stephen Murray, Pam Golding Properties area principal in George, says the natural scenic beauty of the surrounds is highly appealing – including the Outeniqua Mountains which help ensure that the area enjoys good rainfall, providing a lush, tranquil environment.
Says Murray: “Many of our buyers are from Gauteng and the Western Cape seeking their ‘forever-homes’ – something that’s manageable now and into the future. We believe the reason for wanting to move to the Garden Route has not fundamentally changed – buyers are purchasing mainly for primary residential use and often with retirement in mind.
“Price growth can tend to slow demand, but generally it’s as a result of limited stock availability, which has meant that prices have been steady in their upward trend.”
Lightstone stats indicate strong, steady growth in George’s freehold residential property prices over the past decade, with a surge in activity in 2021, particularly in regard to vacant plots in estates.
Says Murray: “Vacant land in estates is mainly in the price range from R1 million upwards, while sectional title apartments start at R1.1 million and in regard to freehold, we don’t have any available stock under the R2 million mark. Once the estates reach sell-out, there is sound potential for new developments in the future with the costs of bulk infrastructure, which the Municipality would need to supply, expected to result in houses on existing estates remaining attractive.
“As a property class I also anticipate that in the not-too-distant future popular new developments may take the form of sectional title apartments as affordability becomes more important. Traditionally, George has not been a sectional title town, with 95.2% of homes comprising freehold, with 14.9% of these in estates.”
Sectional title prices in George have shown stronger growth in recent years, with the median price more than doubling over the past decade, while the median price of vacant plots has soared over the same period, rising from just R120 000 in 2011 to R795 000 last year (2021). Murray says because of the limited availability of homes in gated estates, vacant land presents good opportunities for builder-developers or end-user buyers due to future costs of land as well as upward pressure on building costs.
Source: Pam Golding