Getting Back To Nature in Kenton-on-Sea

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Kenton-on-Sea is a small coastal town situated between Bushman’s River and the Kariega River in the Eastern Cape. With a permanent population of approximately 1000 people, the area explodes during peak holiday seasons when the town’s numbers increase three-fold. The annual arts festival in nearby Grahamstown also boosts the tourist numbers. This well-known event is the largest of its kind in South Africa, is second only to the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and attracts visitors from all over the world.

The area is famed for its pristine beaches and Kariega Beach earned the title ‘Best Beach in South Africa’ in 2000 . The area is also well-known for the fabulous game watching opportunities in close proximity to the town. These include the Kariega, Sibuya, Shamwari and Lalibela Game Reserves. The fact that the area is malaria-free has fuelled foreign interest and as the Big Five can be seen in some of the parks, has put Kenton-on-Sea firmly on the international map.

The overall beauty of the area is also part of the appeal and no development is allowed in the reserve that runs along the shoreline. Despite the restrictions, the area features many beautiful homes that grace the surrounding hillsides, offering spectacular views of the coastline. Property owners have also taken full advantage of the nearby rivers, with many of the riverfront homes boasting direct access to the waterways.

Recent statistics released by Lightstone reveal that property in this little town retails at a premium and in 2011, six sales achieved over the R3-million mark. Overall, sales have been pretty impressive and the stats confirm that there have been a total of 67 residential property transfers in the last 12 months.

Interestingly, there does seem to be an element of inconsistency in respect of market stock. In 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011, there were no sectional title sales concluded. In 2008 and 2010, however, the picture was different and the average price attained for a sectional title unit was R850 000.

Kenton-on-Sea is dominated by the freehold sector of the market. The average price for a freehold property in the last 12 months was R1.8-million. As with so many other coastal towns, the recession has dramatically impacted on the number of sales that have been concluded. At the height of the boom in 2005 there were a total of 170 sales, whereas by the time the recession had started to take hold in 2009, only 32 homes were sold.

Encouragingly, 24 of the sales were new homes, indicating that there is movement in terms of new development. Price averages in terms of these specific transactions revealed that 23 of the properties sold for under R400 000, with one sale registered at R1.1-million.

Perhaps surprisingly, Kenton-on-Sea is predominantly English speaking while the nearby town, aptly named Boesmansriviermond, situated just across the river, is home mainly to Afrikaans speaking people. The area tends to attract the older set and in terms of demographics, Lightstone’s statistics indicate that 33 percent of existing owners are over the age of 65 years. A further 36 percent of owners fell into the mature category, aged between 50-64 years.

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