Coastal towns: A house beside the sea | Everything Property
April 2023

Coastal towns: A house beside the sea

Coastal towns


Coastal towns across South Africa, from the humble and unassuming to the popular favourites, are experiencing a resurgence in buyer interest

Whether for a holiday break, to semigrate  or retire to, areas along the KZN South Coast, and the Western and Eastern Cape are gaining popularity and offer first-time and seasoned buyers a variety of options.  


The KZN South Coast is renowned for beautiful scenery and it is home too many Blue Flag beaches, top surfing and diving spots and at least 11 golf courses. It is also know for its excellent sub-tropical climate and laidback beach lifestyles. According to Seeff South Coast agent Joleen Giraudeau says the beautiful location makes it a development hotspot. Most towns here have basic infrastructure and are not too far from a bigger centre. They are also mostly within under an hour or two’s drive from Durban.

Many of the small coastal towns are seeing somewhat of a revival with residents and businesses stepping in to help clean up and restore the areas. While the South Coast has long been a popular holiday destination, the onset of the Covid pandemic highlighted the benefits of the area to those who want to relocate here permanently or semi-permanently, she says. Prices are still very accessible compared to other coastal areas and there are several multi-million-rand developments underway. It is an excellent time to get in early and invest now, Giraudeau says.


Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of the South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise (SCTIE) also recently cited the South Coast as the new primary choice for residential buyers, and said the area is poised for economic and development growth. Eco living forms a big part of the new developments. This includes the Serenity Hills Eco Estate in the Margate area which is already well underway and offers lifestyles for all age groups including first-time buyers and retirees.

Another prime development is the Renishaw Coastal Precinct in the Umkomaas/Scottburgh area, which also contains a large eco component. This mixed-use coastal development includes residential, retail, educational, health care, and light industrial and commercial zones. Renishaw Coastal Precinct is 48km from Durban city centre, which makes it a sought-after home base close enough to commute to work if required. She says the development offers substantial investment potential with Node 2A the first of many available. This full portion land is already receiving environmental approval for medium density housing, with 24.25ha developable and available to purchase by prospective investors.


Coastal towns in the Western Cape and especially the Garden Route remain highly sought after, and estate agents have reported good sales despite the rapid interest rate hikes last year. According to the Seeff Property Group, the demand for coastal property was in some instances, last year still notably better compared to the low pre-pandemic period.

Popular areas around Cape Town offering small town living close to urban conveniences are the hamlet of Hout Bay and the breath-taking Llandudno. According to Stephan Cross, manager for Seeff Hout Bay and Llandudno these areas experienced record sales last year. Cross says Hout Bay has become a great alternative for buyers looking to be close to the Atlantic Seaboard and the Southern Suburbs. It offers a village lifestyle, restaurants, schools, shopping centres and more. There are a number of lifestyle estates in the area, which contribute to the high demand, he says.


Property in Plettenberg Bay remains highly sought-after and the 2023 Africa Wealth Report calls it one of the wealth hubs in South Africa primed for growth. See the article on our Property News page in this issue for more. Alet Ollemans, licensee for Seeff Plettenberg Bay says the average transaction price for Plettenberg Bay is now around R2.6m, about 4% higher compared to 2021 and about 30% up on the 2019 year. 

The higher transaction value is due largely to higher value transactions, especially in the R3m to R10m range as buyers are generally more confident investing in Plettenberg Bay. While the bulk of the transactions was below R2.5m, the luxury estate Seaside Longships saw sales above the R10m bracket. Although freehold properties make up about 70% of all property stock in the Plettenberg Bay area and estates only comprise around 20%, Lightstone data points to a strong swing to estate property sales, she says. It shows in 2022 that 36% of transactions were from properties in estates and 39% in freehold.


A town that remains popular with semigrators, retirees and holiday buyers is Mossel Bay a bustling little town offering a beach lifestyle and value for money. According to Herman Spies, salest team leader for Seeff Mossel Bay, the market moved faster and with less stock towards the end of last year which saw sellers realising their prices.

Popular investment areas include Dana Bay with an average transaction price, according to Lightstone, of around R1.7m, Diaz at around R1.8m, and Island View and Reebok, both with an average of around R1.8m. Demand is high for properties below R3m. Vacant land is sought after and prices have doubled over the past 12 months.


Also known as the Friendly City, Gqebetha in Nelson Mandela Bay, offers residents an outdoor beach lifestyle and city amenities including good schools, tertiary education such as the NMB University, great shopping centres and plenty of leisure facilities. According to Alan Phillips, regional manager for Seeff Eastern Cape and Garden Route the metro is a perfect alternative for coastal property buyers and still offers lower price points.

He says there is still a shortage of stock which presents great opportunities for sellers. It is not a particularly noteworthy market for semigration, but very active in terms of locals, especially first-time buyers, he says. Popular areas for buyers include the suburbs Walmer with an average house price of R2.7m, Summerstrand with an average price point of R2.55m and Lorraine with an average price point of R1.4m.


With affordably priced freehold homes, the housing market in Kariega (previously known as Uitenhage), is experiencing an influx of young buyers, says Justin Kreusch, Pam Golding Properties area principal based in Gqeberha, who with Ian Olivier and partner LeRoi Grimbeek, acquired the company’s Kariega franchise. Says Kreusch: “During 2022, almost a third (26%) of the town’s home buyers were young adults and first-time buyers. Most wanted starter homes, including sectional title apartments with thee bedrooms, one bathroom, a lounge and kitchen.”

With the vast majority (97.7%) of residential properties being freehold homes, according to Pam Golding Properties local agent, Antoinette Naude, older buyers are looking mainly for larger freehold homes with a braai and entertainment area and with a swimming pool. Freehold homes remain accessible to aspirant purchasers, with median prices peaking at R850,000 in 2020 and 2021, and easing to R800,000 in 2022 according to Lightstone.

“Generally, sectional title properties can be acquired for between R400,000 and R680,000.” Sales activity is steady at present, however, while we are currently experiencing a stock shortage of homes to sell, a contributing factor is that available stock is not always realistically pegged at market-related prices with prospective purchasers shopping around,” says Kreusch.

“While most of our home buyers are from Kariega or nearby Despatch, interestingly, we are also seeing more enquiries from South African expats regarding properties with existing flatlets to buy and let, as rental properties are experiencing good demand.” Kariega is home to the largest vehicle manufacturing plant in Africa – the Volkswagen factory – and the town is also well supported by a range of other industrial operations and various kinds of businesses.

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