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

Business Day - Home Front - - HOMEFRONT -

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

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