A dream location for outdoor lovers
Property owners whose homes are situated along the canals in St Francis Bay have seen some good returns over the past few years, Lea Jacobs writes
AS WITH the locations of so many of SA’s coastal towns, St Francis Bay was first discovered by the Portuguese in 1537 when Diogo Pereira Botelho stopped in the area to replenish his water supply.
One of the country’s unique spots, All of the homes built in the village boast thatch roofs except for those that are situated at the harbour, which have a Mediterranean feel. Home to one of the very few marinas in SA, the area is lined with canals, allowing property owners direct access to the river and sea.
“Construction of the canals began in the 1960s by Leighton Hulett and in 2001 his son, Nevil, completed the 7km of canals, creating 14km of prime water frontage, says Richard Arderne, Pam Golding Property (PGP) area principal.
Arderne says that St Francis Bay residential real estate is assured of sound investment value due to the fact that no further canals are envisaged, thereby limiting if not halting the potential for further new waterfront homes.
Further highlighting the desirability of an investment in a leisure home in St Francis Bay, Arderne notes that building plan statistics released by the Kouga Municipality reveal that the average size of new dwellings in St Francis Bay have increased dramatically since 1993 — from just over 200m² in the early 1990s to 515m² currently.
He says the fact that as a homeowner you are able to “park” your boat at the end of your lawn and travel up the river or out to sea within minutes makes St Francis Bay an outdoor lover’s dream location.
“Approximately 90% of the 500 canal plots have homes on them, with the remaining vacant stands rapidly being developed. Sizes of the stands range from 400m² to 2 000m² with prices of plots varying from about R1.5m to approximately R3m. Houses on the canals are priced from around R3m to approximately R5m, with a few higherpriced luxurious homes,” he says.
Three years ago Pam Golding Properties sold a very large, prime canal home for R21m, a record residential price for the area. This is one of just 13 single residential homes that sold for more than R6m in St Francis Bay (including Cape St Francis), and of these, PGP sold five. All 13 sales have taken place since 2006, indicating the buoyancy experienced at the top end of the market between 2007 and 2010.
On Long Island, an exclusive island comprising 30 plots, which offers additional security in an area that already has a very low crime rate, only three plots remain available for purchase and these are priced from R1,3 to R3m. Last year, Pam Golding Properties sold a completed home for R6,6m and the purchaser invested a further amount of about R2m on improvements.
PGP is also marketing homes on the canals, including an attractive north-facing home with a wide canal frontage and located within a small 15-unit security estate. This five-bedroom holiday home is close to the river, conveniently placed for river trips, fishing or water-skiing, and is well priced at R3,8m.
Arderne says that despite the poorer performance of property in SA in the present economic climate, canal properties in St Francis Bay have held their value and have proven to be very sound investments, escalating in value well ahead of inflation. For example, typical canal plots currently valued at R2m were purchased for about R400 000 around 10 years ago, while prime canal houses which a decade ago sold for about R1m are now priced in the R5m to R7m price range.
For those who do not own a canal property there is a small boat harbour for launching as well as mooring available to boat owners. Owners are required to have their boats certified as seaworthy on an annual basis and must have a licence to operate them. Contact: Pam Golding Properties 042 294 1188