Good reasons to invest in PE

Port Elizabeth has always been known as the friendly city, but in the past few years it has also grown into an attractive option for knowledgeable property investors.

Looking beyond its booming creative culture and culinary blossoming, PE provides investors with the perfect combination of an enviable coastal lifestyle at affordable prices, says Clifford Oosthuizen, managing director of Westbrook, a new 128ha mixed use development on a main arterial route north of the Old Cape Road, 12km west of the CBD and close to Baywest Mall.

Oosthuizen says:

“According to recent figures, PE achieved house price growth of 6.3% year on year – just 3% behind that of Cape Town. To dovetail this, all property types in the area have significantly increased in value over the past 10 years. An article published in February shows the average price of freehold properties increased from R690 000 in 2008 to more than R1 million in 2010, and from R515 000 for sectional title units to R895 000.

“There is also significant demand for rental homes in the area, providing potential buyers with a solid way to investigate the city before committing to a purchase. PE boasts all the traditional big city amenities at rentals that are significantly more affordable than other metros in the country.

“PE has become a haven for those looking to scale down and retire in a seaside area, and for first-time buyers wanting value for money. The buyer profile in PE is changing, with many hunting down properties that offer a simpler lifestyle and low maintenance. The attractive prices also make property here a low-risk investment, but with good returns. And with most new homeowners in either the 36 to 49 age group, or the under-35 group, PE is becoming a dynamic city with a growing younger market.”

He says PE’s natural beauty has made it the perfect city for the development of lifestyle estates that can combine security, modern amenities, and affordable pricing in a central location. Westbrook, for instance, consists of nine pockets of development, combining residential, commercial, and retail environments.

“The quality of life offered in a peaceful country setting makes Westbrook an ideal investment opportunity for retirees, as well as families who want a secure environment where their children can grow up,” says Oosthuizen.

“PE has embraced the multi-generational nature of its residents. From international cricket and rugby events, to the well-established Iron Man, PE offers attractions for all investors and visitors. Even though suburbs like Walmer, Lorraine, South End, St Georges Park, Summerstrand and Humewood are providing good growth rates, investors have a number of additional options available, given how quickly the city is evolving due to its multi-generational approach.”

PE is also close to the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ). This is multibillion dollar industrial complex, established in 1999, creating an enabling environment for growth. With an enviable logistics network with rail and harbour access, Coega offers a world class support system to any organisation looking to expand operations globally, says Oosthuizen.

Capitalising on its location, multinational organisations like Volkswagen and Isuzu are investing billions of rands in the region with manufacturing plants. This is providing more reasons for locals to stay than do the traditional migration to Johannesburg or Cape Town. Oosthuizen says many Grey College old boys are also returning to their roots, wanting their sons to attend one of the most prestigious schools in the country.

“The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has introduced an Incentive Policy designed to attract investments in a number of areas, from tourism and agriculture to construction, logistics and automotive industries. There are several incentives available that include joint financing, rebates, and discounts. Additionally, the Department of Trade and Industry and other government departments have also developed a list of measures that can be used in conjunction with other incentive programmes.

“All these incentives are a real boost for the property market, and we believe things can only improve,” says Oosthuizen.