Perennial demand for homes in Mossel Bay, gateway to the Garden Route

Touted as the adventure capital of the Garden Route with some 50 related activities, 60km of golden beaches, and natural beauty in spades, it’s hardly surprising that the coastal town of Mossel Bay has high appeal for home buyers who spans generations.

Only half an hour’s drive from George Airport, and home to the Big Five, as well as quality medical facilities, Mossel Bay retains its historic appeal as a retirement destination, with a third of stable owners - namely those who have owned their properties for more than 12 months – being over 65 years of age. However, says Pam Golding Properties area principal, Stephen Murray, with residential property still affordable, the town is attracting more young adult buyers under the age of 35, who over the past 12 months (Sept 2021 – Aug 2022) comprised 14% of total buyers (source Lightstone).

Says Murray: “The town’s appeal extends beyond quality of life, with sound municipal management and a resilient and diversified local economy adding to its desirability as a long-term investment destination. Ratings Africa named Mossel Bay as South Africa’s most financially sustainable local government in both 2021 and 2020. The town plans to expand the Da Nova Medical Precinct to accommodate more hospital groups and rehabilitation centres, catering both for permanent residents as well as encouraging health tourism.”

With George Airport just 40km away, residents are easily able to commute to Johannesburg or Cape Town, while combined with the port of Mossel Bay – which is undergoing an infrastructure upgrade, it is possible for businesses to import and export directly from the town.

High demand for estate living

Says Murray: “In regard to the residential property market, of note is the high demand for estate living. Currently 83.1% of homes are freehold, with 20.5% located in estates (source Lightstone). I believe that the trend towards estate living is here to stay, particularly for existing or built homes in sought after, established estates such as Pinnacle Point, which has enjoyed robust activity in recent years.”

Murray says the strong demand for estates could, in part, be a reflection of an influx of semigrants – especially from Gauteng, who often opt for an estate lifestyle when relocating to coastal towns, and for whom the Western Cape is a preferred destination. According to Lightstone, Mossel Bay experienced the largest number of sales to semigrators in the Western Cape last year (2021), with a clear preference shown for homes in estates.

The trend to sectional title

Says Murray: “Following on from this, I also believe that a new trend we will see is the advent of secure, gated estate sectional title living, particularly because of affordability within a secure, lifestyle environment. This underpins value at an estate such as the newly launched Renosterbos Estate, where residential property is currently selling from approximately R2 million upwards, which will cater for a cross section of home purchasers including retirees, families and young, first-time buyers. Renosterbos Estate also includes 450-850sqm vacant plots priced from R1.175 million, also including VAT, with scenic kloof and mountain views.

“Future new sectional title developments in Mossel Bay are likely to be priced from in the region of just below R2 million (including VAT with no transfer duty payable), to luxurious penthouses which will attract premium prices similar to those of freehold luxury homes. The market is not only potentially the mature, lock-up-and-go maintenance buyer, but also investors, including younger buyers who understand the merits of apartment living.”

According to Lightstone, residential property prices in Mossel Bay have risen steadily over the past decade, despite the negative economic impact of Covid. And according to TPN, growing demand has in turn pushed up rental values on both freehold and sectional title properties.

Despite this, the town still offers value for money, says Murray: “We believe developments such as Renosterbos Estate offer a value proposition considering that the properties are situated in a secure, gated estate, even when compared to the current available asking prices in the general market. Although most of our buyers are from the larger metropolitan or populated areas, enquiries for estate developments are widespread from around the country. There is talk of schools to be built in Mossel Bay, one of which is to be located on an estate, which will only add to the appeal of the area.

“Interestingly, our sales are seeing transactions trending mainly in the R3.55 million range, with the upper end to about R6 million enjoying buoyant activity, while we have also concluded numerous sales around the R10 million mark, especially when one takes into account the combined capital investment made in vacant land such as in Renosterbos and construction of upmarket homes.

“Positively for buyers in Renosterbos Estate, which offers residents expansive vistas, the development is already established with roads and infrastructure in place and a number of houses already constructed. This underlines the commitment and credentials of the developer, who has been involved in residential developments such as Kraaibosch and Welgelegen estates in George, as well as in the Cape.”

The increased demand for sectional title living in no way detracts from the appeal of freehold homes, says Murray. “Generally, buyers like the idea of a freehold property, but increasingly sectional title offerings within estates are likely to become more and more attractive due to the convenience, security and affordability factors. For example, a two or three-bedroom apartment is usually cheaper than a freehold house in the same or comparable area.”

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