As the western gateway to the Garden Route, Port Elizabeth retains it’s standing as popular tourist hub and a significant motor vehicle manufacturing centre.
Renowned for its clean, safe swimming beaches, attractive quality of life, pleasant climate and proximity to South Africa’s malaria-free safari destinations, the ‘friendly city’ is also experiencing an encouraging turn-around in economic fortunes.
Twenty minutes from Port Elizabeth is the Coega project, a new harbour development set to provide thousands of jobs, and currently acting as a massive economic driver for the region. With a veritable glut of other development projects both underway and in the pipeline, the Nelson Mandela Bay metro is experiencing a ‘new dawn’ that’s demonstrating marked increase in local employment opportunities, as well as positive activity within the local property market.
Says Cobus Bedeker, Development Director of Amdec, developers behind the 21st century Westbrook neighbourhood taking shape on the western edge of the city, “With the recent launch of the Baywest Mall and the development of the greater Baywest precinct, set to roll out over the next 10 years, as well as the significant developments at Coega, we are seeing an increased influx of wealth and investment into the Bay area,” he says.
According to the 2nd Quarter 2015 FNB House Price Index, the average house price rose 7.7% year-on-year for the Western Cape with the province still boasting strongest house price growth in SA, it’s interesting to note that this was followed by the Eastern Cape (6.8%), KZN (5.9%) and Gauteng (4.6%). Therefore despite the economic slump elsewhere in South Africa, and the reality that the Eastern Cape market is rising from a low base, PE’s commercial and residential property markets are indeed showing encouraging buoyancy – with increased interest being shown by investors and out-of-town purchasers from across the country.
“The take-off in business and, in particular, the far-reaching potential of the Coega Industrial Development Zone, is showing positive results in the residential property market and, ultimately, changing the face of the city!” says Bedeker. As the economy improves we anticipate the market will experience further activity, he says.
Attractive aspects of the Port Elizabeth lifestyle to out-of-town investors include a lower cost of living than most other cities around the country, closer proximity to shopping and amenities, little traffic congestion, and crime rates that remain relatively low in comparison with other major cities. It is also an ideal city for raising a family, with its range of excellent schools.
Backed by the experience of master developers, Amdec (the force behind such iconic projects as Gauteng’s landmark Melrose Arch mixed-use precinct), the 128ha Westbrook development will ultimately form the city’s newest suburb.
A total of R400-million has already been spent on Westbrook infrastructure development, services and construction to date, with 7 of the 9 show homes on Westbrook’s first residential estate already sold – and setting new benchmarks for house prices in the area and beyond.
The Westbrook future looks bright; situated in close proximity to the new super-regional Baywest mall, 4 of the 9 planned residential estates (including The Ridge) will be launched on this sprawling development over the next 12 months. Each will cater to a wide spectrum of real estate needs – with house prices ranging from R 800 000 to R2 million.
Alongside these residential estates, Westbrook will also feature a retirement lifestyle estate and a retail village, office component, top-end medical facility – plus and an already established private Curro school.
“We’re experiencing an increase in enquiries from those relocating from other centres for a variety of reasons – including a better lifestyle, business transfers and retirement,” says Amdec Sales Manager, Steve van Schaik. “It’s certainly not unusual to find families moving from the larger cities to PE for a better way of life, with the breadwinner then commuting on business.”
“Where Amdec have previously created these communities, the capital growth on the investment made has always far outweighed the growth experienced in the surrounding areas,” continues van Schaik. “With Westbrook, we’re essentially forging a 21st century suburb from scratch – allowing us opportunity to provide families and children with a healthy environment and open spaces that ideally lend themselves to parks, walkways, bicycle paths and children’s play areas.”
Raising the benchmark for premium mixed-use estates in South Africa, security at Westbrook is first-class. 24-hour Westbrook security patrol vehicles will circulate both within and around the perimeter of the estate, visitor access will be managed through state-of-the-art CCTV, and all estate access points will be monitored by dedicated security guards.
“This secure and family-friendly environment is highly sought-after among property buyers throughout the country, due to its security estate offering. Not to mention proximity to beaches and nearby national attractions such as Addo,” says van Schaik.
As part of the Westbrook rollout, Amdec is partnering with local SMME’s as construction and professional partners and a host of dedicated local service providers. Furthermore, over the next 10 years the Westbrook development is set to employ approximately 3,000 – 5,000 people (both directly and indirectly) during construction phase, and generating a scale of permanent job employment to support the Westbrook development thereafter.
All this will support wider plans to bolster economic growth in the Bay area. “What is built on Westbrook and how it is built has a lasting impact on the people who live there, the wider Bay community and the landscape for years to come!” says Bedeker. “We’re proud to be a part of it!”