Memories of childhood holidays, beautiful surroundings and a laid back lifestyle have always been factors that drive property sales in Margate, a small seaside town on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.Famed for its unspoilt beaches and laidback lifestyle, the area boomed during the property upswing as people clambered to invest in holiday homes. Like many other coastal regions that featured a high number of second homes, the area was particularly hard hit by the recession. The effects of the economic downturn, however, are beginning to fade and savvy investors have started to emerge, investing once again in this popular region. Sales in the area are on the increase, although local agents believe that it is still predominantly homes that are perceived as bargains that are generating the most interest.Regarded by some as the poorer cousin to the more cosmopolitan North Coast, the area continues to offer great value for money to those who want to invest in coastal property. This has led to an increase in sales by those who recognise that now is the perfect time to buy.Statistics released by Lightstone indicate that 244 sectional title sales have been concluded over the past 12 months. Of these, 166 were priced at R400 000 and below. There were 117 freehold sales, 70 of which were priced in the R400 000 to R800 000 price range.The fact that sectional title sales continue to dominate the property market in the area is an indication of movement within the holiday sector. There will always be a need for the lock-up-and-go option as the area is always going to appeal to those looking to invest in a secure holiday unit.The fact that the area has been a vacation hot spot for years comes as no surprise. The Hibiscus Coast offers a wealth of glorious beaches, six of which enjoy Blue Flag Status, a plethora of internationally-recognised golf courses as well as spectacular scenery at the nearby Oribi Gorge. Unlike other popular coastal destinations the area has remained largely unspoilt, although there are still a large number of family-orientated activities available in the area.The region also appeals to retirees. The latest statistics released by Lightstone indicate that 70% of recent buyers are aged 65 and older. A growing number of families that are attracted by the relaxed lifestyle and the fact that crime is far lower in the region than in major centres have also made the area their home. There are a number of good schools in the area, including two private establishments, Creston College in Oslo Beach and Southcity Christian College in Ramsgate. Port Shepstone High School is the oldest and largest learning establishment in the area, attracting pupils from the entire Hibiscus Coast region.According to local agents, the price of property in this area is always going to drive demand. Buyers have a wide choice and whether they choose to live on the beach in an upmarket unit or a lock-up-and-go unit in one of the many secure complexes that dot the area, they are going to pay far less for the privilege than those who choose other coastal areas.
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