Young buyers investing in homes on the Sunshine Coast

Bright future for Olivewood Private Estate in East London

Nearly a third (27) of the full title erven in phase one in East London’s Olivewood Private Estate and Golf Club have sold, proving the ongoing demand for secure living in an idyllic location with easy access to all amenities.

And true to its moniker, ‘The Sunshine Coast’, this region is said to enjoy the longest hours of sunshine on South Africa’s coastline, with a sub-tropical climate, unspoilt beaches and warm Indian Ocean creating a perfect playground for water sports and outdoor activities. Not surprising then that buyers in a younger generation are putting down roots in East London, buying homes in this appealing location with all its many attractions.

Set on 1 000ha of pristine countryside in the magical Chintsa Valley, with forest, ocean and river views, the total of 96 freehold erven in phase one are selling at prices ranging from R500 000 for stands from 850 sqm in size. Approximately 40% of Olivewood will remain undeveloped, providing a tranquil, natural environment with local flora and fauna, including numerous species of wildlife which freely roam the estate.

Says Sean Coetzee, Pam Golding Properties area principal in East London: “The lifestyle on offer in this secure, prime-located estate – with both river and beach access – is being well received by the market place, including its eco-friendly, ‘green’ features and planned amenities which further enhance its appeal. On final completion, the estate will also offer a medical facility and mature living estate, which will cater for the rising demand for retirement accommodation within a secure and established residential estate, with easy access to a host of facilities.

“We are receiving ongoing enquiries for erven and homes on Olivewood, with the majority of interested buyers intending to purchase this year. At present there is an equal split of purchasers between East Londoners looking for security and a luxury lifestyle, and buyers from upcountry looking to semigrate – and in some instances, retire here. The latter includes a couple from America who have acquired an erf to build their dream retirement home.”

The appeal of Olivewood and its locale is the simpler, less stressful and more measured lifestyle as well as the comparatively good pricing of property as opposed to similar developments in places like Cape Town, George and Durban. Buyers represent a cross-section of the populace, from young professionals and couples with children of school-going age to retirees.

Says Coetzee: “While there is a lot of interest in the sectional title offerings, freehold erven are the most popular at present as people can acquire the erf and then plan their dream home.”

Apart from the completed, privately-owned 18-hole golf course which is irrigated with water from the estate’s own dams and boreholes, there is a wine bar serving tapas meals which is particularly popular for Sunday brunches, a golf practice area, a clubhouse servicing the golfers and a children’s playground. Other facilities planned are a gym/lifestyle centre and lap pool, bowling green, restaurant, coffee shop and deli, cycling and running tracks, river club with river and beach access, business centre and boat and/or boardwalk access to the safe swimming beach at Chintsa East.

With 16 phases planned, Olivewood is a long-term project. Apart from the full title erven currently marketed, sectional title homes available for purchase include The Grove, with townhouses of 250sqm including three bedrooms all en suite, priced from R2.8 million, and The Terraces, comprising terraced apartments of either 275sqm for two bedroom units or 325sqm for three bedrooms and priced from R3.1 million and R3.9 million respectively. The recently launched sectional title units known as The Lodges are priced around the R1.8 million mark for two bedrooms.

The largest dwelling on Olivewood Estate was recently completed and occupied. Set on seven consolidated erven in prime position, with spectacular views over the Chintsa River and Chintsa beach, this 1 500sqm luxury mansion incorporates the very latest technologies, highest quality finishes and numerous unique features.

Coetzee says despite the economic and socio-political challenges experienced, the residential property market in the East London area continues to show resilience, with an ever-increasing demand for housing fuelled by an emerging middle class, and with more positive sentiment contributing to sustained activity.

Sandra Gordon, Pam Golding Properties senior research analyst, says East London is predominantly a freehold market, with only some 7% of freehold and sectional title homes located within estates.

“With a low turnover, this is a very stable market, with 62% of current homeowners and 46% of recent sellers having owned their properties for 11 or more years.

Young adults represent 43% of recent buyers

“East London also attracts fairly young buyers, with 43% of recent buyers young adults (under 35 years) and 36% falling into the ‘middle-aged’ category (36-49 years), which suggests that home purchasers in Buffalo City are typically young professionals, first-time buyers and families.”

Coetzee affirms this, saying that a young generation of aspirant home buyers are contributing to demand, with residential properties between R850 000 and R1.4 million enjoying the most attention from these purchasers.

“There is also a specific demand for sectional title properties as these are more affordable, less costly to maintain, and with good security and lock-up-and-go convenience, better suited to the modern lifestyle. More mature buyers are also looking to downsize and simplify their lives with smaller gardens, less expensive maintenance and less hassle.”

Comments Gordon: “According to Lightstone, currently South Africa has 6.6 million homes worth a total value of R5.3 trillion, 11.6% of which comprises sectional title units, which account for 14.6% of the total value of homes.

“Not surprisingly, the demand for sectional title homes is outstripping supply as a young population with limited capital, who have yet to enter the housing market, is making sectional title properties their preferred entry point. As a result, the demand for sectional title properties is likely to remain brisk for the foreseeable future.”

At the other end of the scale, upmarket waterfront homes in East London are still selling. Coetzee says riverfront properties are still fetching excellent prices, with a Nahoon River property having been sold by Pam Golding Properties for R6.8 million late last year, and a property on the Quenera River which recently sold for R7.85 million.