Although Margate and nearby Uvongo in KwaZulu-Natal continue to see an improvement in the number of permanent residents settling in the area, the second-home market remains very muted.
Situated on the section of the South Coast popularly known as the Hibiscus Coast, the well-known holiday town of Margate has seen a drop in both the prices and the number of property sales taking place. House prices in Uvongo are a little more positive and are showing growth, albeit nominal. At this stage, the average price paid for a sectional title unit is hovering around the R800 000 mark. The average price of freehold property is R1-million.
Willem Erasmus from Acutts Margate says the volume of sales in some suburbs has decreased dramatically. However, on a more positive note, he adds that there has been an increase in sales to those who are looking to move down to the area permanently.
With arguably the best winter climate in the country, the Hibiscus Coast attracts visitors throughout the year. Although locals feel that crime is on the increase, essentially criminal activity along the entire coastal belt is relatively low when compared to larger, more metropolitan areas.
Unlike other, perhaps more upmarket sections of South Africa's coastline, the South Coast offers good value for money. Erasmus says that the average price of a beachfront apartment is currently R1-million. Beachfront freehold properties are in short supply, but homes with a good sea view are selling for between R1-million and R1.2-million.
The area has also proved popular with retirees and Erasmus notes that many of the recent sales are to those who plan to retire to the coast in the near future. The coast is ideal for those looking to take things a little easier in their golden years and there are a number of country clubs and a host of beautiful golf courses for those who like to keep active.
This neck of the woods has seen major development over the past 10 years or so but most of the small towns and villages along the Hibiscus Coast’s 125km coastline have retained their charm. Unspoiled beaches are the order of the day and, although certain areas tend to become crowded during peak holiday season, overall, it is a quiet, peaceful place to live, work and play.
Shelly Beach is generally considered to be the commercial hub of the region, but Margate also features a large shopping centre and a well-equipped private hospital. In addition, the town has an airport which supports an air service that offers regular commercial flights to Johannesburg.
Renowned for the world-famous sardine run, known as “the Greatest Shoal on Earth”, fishermen from all around the country flock to the area during the months of June and July, hoping to capitalise on the annual bonanza. Whale-watching is another favourite activity during winter. A few of the towns and villages have erected whale-watching decks, which offer great views of these denizens of the deep, and there are several licensed operators that offer boat trips for those who want to get a little closer to these magnificent creatures.