Jeffrey's Bay may not be on your list of holiday destinations, but it should be.
Jeffrey’s Bay, or “J-Bay” as it’s popularly known, probably isn’t on your list of places to go before you die. Venice and Prague, maybe. The Vic Falls or the Grand Canyon, surely. But Jeffrey’s Bay? Not likely. Unless, of course, you’re a surfer – in which case it’s an entirely different story. J-Bay would leave the most mesmerizing of cities and the most awesome natural wonders in the dust. Why? Because it’s home to the perfect wave, dude. And the best right hand point break. But you would know this about J-Bay. And if you hadn’t already been there and done time in the Green Room, this would be very high on your agenda of things to do before you die. Because Jeffrey’s Bay is up there with the best of them: Australia’s Gold Coast, Indonesia’s Mentawai Islands, Costa Rica, California and Bali. It is that good – and that’s why the town plays host to the annual Billabong Pro: one of the top events on the international surfing calendar and the biggest in Africa. Now I do realise that if you’re more comfortable on land, this information could leave you stone cold. Fair enough. But before you reach for your Business Day, consider this deep philosophical truth I picked up from one serious surfologist: “Surfing without great waves is like hot beer – totally not cool.” Poetic. And I reckon a beautiful coastal town without all the amenities and property that a first-class surfing destination deserves is equally “totally not cool”. I’m sure you would agree. But, the excellent news for you, Mr and Ms Property Investor, is that this is not the case! No way, bro.
There is property aplenty in J-Bay – and at wicked (ie excellent) prices! (PS: If the surfer lexicon gets to be too much for you, dude, please go to www.riptionary.com. It might also help you relate to your teenager, whether your kid is a radolescent or a land shark.) So what’s hot for property in Jeffrey’s Bay? Well, pretty much everything. But first let me tell you a little about this Eastern Cape town that is often referred to as the “gem” in the Kouga Region. The Kouga region is west of Port Elizabeth and stretches from the Van Staden’s River in the east to Tsitsikamma River in the west, and inland up to the Baviaanskloof Mountains in the north.
This area is steeped in history and I mean steeped: predating old Captain Jeffrey who sailed in and set up the town in the 1840s. We’re talking about the first humans in this neck of the woods. So it’s a rich archeological area with a sprinkling of natural heritage sites and rock art by the Khoisan people. These folk named the area Kouga, which aptly means “place of dreaming”. Massive barrels aside, I’m dreaming of my own pad right on the beach in J-Bay. Four years ago, Rosebank businessman Robert-Ernest Maud had the same dream. So he did his homework and bought into one of Jeffrey’s Bay’s most sought-after new developments, Marina Martinique. A keen property investor, Maud purchased his luxurious three-bedroom unit off plan from the developer. So attractive was the deal that it mattered not to him that he had never been to Jeffrey’s Bay. “Jeffrey’s Bay has the reputation of being not only an awesome surfing destination, but a seaside town known for its beautiful long stretches of beach, cultural attractions and great restaurants.
We were looking for a family holiday home right on the beach, where you could step out of your front door and onto the sand – and this development was precisely what we were looking for. The unit itself is light and airy with gorgeous views of the ocean and all the modern fittings. We knew we couldn’t go wrong!” Unfortunately for Maud, who is in the throes of setting up another business, he has to sell the unit. He’s asking for R2.9m, which he says is excellent value: “The unit is great value for money considering it is a one-of-a-kind development in Jeffrey’s Bay. Situated right on the sand and overlooking the dunes, this modern apartment building boasts every luxury. A large pool is being built amidst the dunes, the unit itself is fitted with kitchen appliances and flat screen TV, elegant wooden cupboards and has beautiful views from every room. Buyers will love the oceanside lifestyle that Milkwood offers: long walks on the beach, paddling in the sea and minutes from the hub of Jeffrey’s Bay’s quaint restaurants, coffee shops and arts and crafts.”
With the market slowly recovering and property in Jeffrey’s Bay becoming increasingly popular, Maud is confident he’ll get his price. I caught up with local estate agent Rachie Badenhorst of RealNet. Rachie has lived in Jeffrey’s since 1999 and been selling property in Jeffrey’s Bay since 2001. She’s an ex-music teacher who describes her town as “a no-hurry, no-worry kind of place”, by all accounts spot on. Rachie realised she needed to keep herself busy doing something other than music, so she turned to property, which she says has always been her passion. And Jeffrey’s is such an easy sell. People love the town for so many reasons, she says. “We have miles of golden beaches – about 13km from Kabeljous to the Paradise Beach end – that you can walk, and with Blue Flag status, they are safe to swim in, too. And the surfing is outstanding. The lifestyle is absolutely stunning – like being permanently on holiday. We have so many churches in the community doing good work. There are good schools here – Jeffrey’s Bay Primary and Woodridge Preparatory, Elijah Christian school and a few language schools – plus very good medical facilities, such as the new Polyclinic.” Rachie says the Fountain’s Mall has everything a shopper needs: Woolies, Pick n Pay, Clicks, Game, cinemas, clothing stores, a pharmacy and a host of popular eateries from Wimpy to Ocean Basket. And if you’re looking for a house to buy, Jeffrey’s has something to fit most tastes and budgets. If there’s a shortage of anything, it would seem that there isn’t much in the top end of the market. Rachie’s agency has over 400 properties on the books.
They range in price from R560k for older properties to R5m for beachfront properties. Rachie acknowledges that over the past three years things have been tough, but the market is starting to pick up, she says. According to Deeds Office data supplied by Lightstone property analysts, there have been only 30 sales in Jeffrey’s Bay this year. Of those sales 21 were freehold properties, which constitute 75 percent of market stock in the town. The average price of a freehold property in J-Bay this year has been R740 000 and the average price of sectional title property has been R495 000. By Cape Town or Joburg standards, that’s property almost free. Sounds like a wave of opportunity to me.