Hartenbos is no longer just a sleepy seaside village near Mossel Bay – and certainly not when it comes to property sales. Like many Garden Route destinations, it has experienced a significant influx of new residents and home buyers in recent years and is now expanding rapidly.
So says Chantelle Grard, principal of the Chas Everitt International franchise in Mossel Bay, who with her business partner Charmaine Deacon has just opened a new office in Hartenbos to serve the growing market. This office has a high-visibility location on the corner of Louis Fourie and Boekenhout streets at the entrance to the village and already has a complement of six top agents.
“Hartenbos has always been a popular holiday and retirement destination due to its mild climate, a beautiful Blue Flag beach, warm sea, river frontage and many opportunities to experience unspoilt nature, including regular sightings of the Southern Right whales that return to this coast every year,” she notes.
“It is also only about 10 minutes’ drive from Mossel Bay and all the amenities of the bigger centre. The Langeberg Mall with 90 stores and restaurants is the closest shopping centre to Hartenbos, and we also have some of the best medical facilities in SA, including two private hospitals and a provincial hospita”.
“As a result, most of the properties in the village used to be holiday homes that were occupied only part of the year, but in the past two years we have seen a huge increase in the number of permanent residents, many of whom have relocated with their families from Gauteng, Limpopo and the Northern Cape because of the great lifestyle this area offers. There are also excellent public and private schools in Mossel Bay, which is where most Hartenbos residents work.”
And in recent months, Grard says, both the number of sales and home prices in Hartenbos and Hartenbos Heuwels have also increased steeply, especially in the secure complexes that are favoured by upcountry buyers. “There is also the Monte Christo eco-estate in this area, where more than 114 stands and 38 homes have been sold in the past 12 months.”
She says it is also interesting to note that the population of Hartenbos is getting “younger”, with the biggest cohort of recent buyers (42%) being in the 35 to 50 age-group, while the biggest cohort of existing owners (37%) is in the 50 to 65 age group.
“The new entrants are mostly professionals and senior business people and their presence will boost the local economy as they spend their earnings here and in some cases establish new practices and businesses in the area. For those who need to travel on business, another major plus of living here is the fact that the George airport is just 45km away and offers daily flights to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.”
Deeds Office statistics show that the average price of sectional title homes in Hartenbos has risen from R950 000 a year ago to around R1,2m currently, Grard says, and the average price of freehold homes from R1,35m to just under R1,6m. “There have been more than 140 home sales in the area in the past 12 months and the strength of demand is further indicated by the fact that the average number of days that a home is on the market before being sold has dropped from 97 to 82″.
“In the newer area of Hartenbos Heuwels, the average sectional title price has risen from R1,2m to around R1,6m currently and the average freehold price has shot up from R1,4m to over R2m. The number of days on market has dropped from 106 to 83. Meanwhile in the Monte Christo estate, the average stand price has risen from R400 000 to R450 000, and the average home price from R2m to almost R2,3m.”