Multi-million rand investment in Port Elizabeth is raising the profile of the city, which, despite being South Africa’s fifth largest, has been a well-kept secret in terms of its value for money real estate.
That’s according to Ian Olivier, area principal of Pam Golding Properties Port Elizabeth, who says it’s glaringly obvious that, on the back of ongoing investment in the city’s western areas and the Coega IDZ, property prices are poised for significant growth.
“Given the confidence being shown in our market by outside developers who see enormous potential and opportunity, I think our market is going to start playing catch-up with other coastal destinations,” he avers.
Olivier says further that while Port Elizabeth has traditionally had a small appetite for properties in the R3 million plus bracket, interest in prime homes is rising as professionals relocate from other provinces and cities to the suburbs.
Colloquially referred to as the 10 minute city in the past, although Port Elizabeth drivers have had to add approximately 10 minutes to their drive time from Port Elizabeth International Airport as a result of expansion and increased road traffic in recent years, this still makes the city one of the least congested in the country. “Over and above this is the friendly city’s easy accessibility to the sea and temperate climate and you have all the hallmarks of an internationally desirable residential destination.”
Among the stand-out properties currently being marketed by Pam Golding Properties Port Elizabeth are a refurbished ocean-fronting apartment in an iconic block in Summerstrand, where the average selling price is R2.3 million, an architect-designed home on the Little Walmer Golf Course, a turn-of-the-century Mill Park home with various business options and an exclusive new contemporary-style development in Humewood aimed at high net worth buyers seeking a secure, coastal lifestyle.
Priced at R3.75 million the apartment, located at No 1 Summerstrand, is one of 17 units in the ocean-facing block, which was built in 1986. On the second floor, it looks out on to Shark Rock Pier and Port Elizabeth’s main swimming beach, Hobie Beach. Stylishly redecorated with porcelain tiles and modern light fittings, the 159sqm unit comprises expansive living areas, a cordon bleu kitchen, three bedrooms, two new bathrooms, two garages and a storeroom.
Part of the appeal of No 1 Summerstrand, says Olivier, is its air of grandeur. Surrounded by palm trees befitting its coastal positioning, it is well maintained and very secure, with access control and coded entry.
Unit sizes range from 159sqm upward, with the penthouse, which sold for R8 million in 2015, stretching over 400sqm in extent. Most recent selling prices put the square metre price at between R16 000 and R20 000, which is a premium in Port Elizabeth.
“Owners have been here either from the outset or in excess of eight years, a very low turnover indicative of a desirable living space and level of comfort. And the position is unsurpassed for seafront amenities. An exclusive, well-managed and quiet building with wheel chair facilities and accommodation for carers, its owners have traditionally comprised mostly retirees. Recently however, younger families who don’t reside permanently in PE have started buying units for holiday homes,” he says.
“Regardless of whether they’ve been renovated or not – and most units have been completely refurbished and redecorated in keeping with the building’s modern and exclusive aesthetic, they all feature spacious, gracious living areas designed around spectacular ocean views.”
Buyers with upwards of R2.7 million to spend would also do well to consider Mur de Roche, a recently launched new six unit development in upmarket Humewood. Featuring a number of ‘green’ elements, including solar geysers, gas hobs, Low-E glazing, insulated ceilings, and with a rainwater harvesting system planned for the future, the development is a quick stroll away from Humewood Beach and a host of vibey eateries.
Designed around secure, lock-up and go living, all units have sea views and at least one covered balcony with a stainless steel braai. They range in size from 122sqm to 217sqm and start at R2.7 million. Fittings are high-end and include porcelain floor tiles in the living areas, luxury bedroom carpets, solid granite/quartz kitchen counter tops, concealed cisterns and ceramic disk water mixers. Upper floor units feature raked elevated ceilings complete with dormer window detail.
“Electrified perimeter fencing, controlled auto gate access, lock-up garages and basement laundries / storerooms add to its appeal”, says Olivier.
Mill Park, known for its upscale homes and proximity to the prestigious Grey boys’ schools, is a drawcard for families with school-going children. The newly listed 17 Mill Park Road comprises not only a gracious character home on an unusually large treed stand but a suite of professional offices, a separate and very spacious cottage and two luxury B&B suites as well as multiple parking. This property is marketed by Pam Golding Properties at R5.5 million.
“It’s an exceptional property,” says Olivier of the house, which was built in 1925 and features high ceilings, mullioned windows, a wood-burning, granite-slabbed fireplace in the enormous entrance hall / pause area, solid wood floors and doors throughout, and original brass light fittings. “While remaining respectful of its classical heritage, the home has been tastefully modernised to ensure easy family living and entertaining.”
Leading from the entrance area through double wooden doors, the dining room is large enough for extended family gatherings and dinner parties. Its stand-out features include a 70-year old Italian chandelier and a wall-length custom-made sideboard with granite tops, built-in wine fridge and drawers designed to store hot plates.
Opposite is the Jarrah wood, granite-topped kitchen with bespoke cabinetry, filtered water system, serving hatch and scullery, and customised to serve the two B&B suites without intrusion into the main house.
All bedrooms are en suite, and the main bedroom has a sitting area, a walk-in dressing room and a private, enclosed courtyard with fountain leading off the elegant bathroom.
Solid wood bookshelves, ornate dining room mirrors, custom-made blinds, air-conditioning, a formidable borehole and a sheltered, all-weather braai area alongside the pool, add to its appeal.
Set on 2 280sqm, the property also includes an upmarket suite of offices with boardroom, two luxury income-producing B&B suites, and a large, private garden cottage with jardinière (ornamental receptacle for plants).
Bordered by the Port Elizabeth Golf Club and Wembley Tennis Club at the back, it’s also ideally situated for Grey boys to walk to and from school.
In Walmer, another of the city’s upscale garden suburbs, is a rarely-found home in the exclusive Little Walmer Golf Estate – ‘the Dainfern’ of PE.
Designed by IMBONO, a local firm of architects whose work is visible in several of the Estate’s homes, it combines modern stone cladding with neutral colour palette, exposed trusses and a contemporary roof line. Olivier says this is one of the loveliest homes he’s ever seen. “This home has the ‘wow’ factor. It strikes you with quality, class, space and luxury, yet it’s very comfortable and welcoming at the same time. And gracious entertaining doesn’t get better than this, where everything just flows.”
A home for a family, whether the children are tots or teens, the double-storey offers three luxury en suite bedrooms and a guest suite, a well-designed open-plan aesthetic that includes formal and informal living areas serviced by a designer Caesar stone-topped wood kitchen, and an outstanding entertainment area comprising braai room with stack doors to the pool. Gentle views over the golf course and superlative features including bamboo flooring, a wide glass staircase that seems to float under the star-like lighting, designer bathrooms and kitchen, a custom-made solid wood bar all add up to a very special property. With 24 hour manned security and an electric fence, it is a very private property, affording everyone their own space when they want it.
A similar buying trend is emerging on the western side of Port Elizabeth, albeit on a lower scale, says Olivier’s business partner Justin Kreusch, who manages Pam Golding Properties Lorraine. “Where previously the ceiling in this area was the late R2 millions, we’re now seeing sales in excess of R3.5 million taking place for the first time. This is no doubt in part to the area’s proximity to the new Bay West Mall and other popular shopping centres, good schools and the beaches.”
Concludes Olivier: “Port Elizabeth offers its own version of the high quality lifestyles found in other coastal destinations throughout South Africa, and with its increased exposure to national and international buyers, we’re expecting to see a steading rise in the number of professionals opting for luxury coastal living.”