That’s according to Mario Raffa of CENTURY 21 Silversky, part of the CENTURY 21 South Africa property group. 


“East London has also totally discarded its image as a Cinderella region. Its strategic location and the upgraded east-west coastal road has opened up access to its markets and its labour resources, while the well established infrastructure and port has attracted investment from leading multinationals such as Daimler Chrysler,” he points out.


“Developments such as the newly announced Billion Group-backed golf estate in Gonubie, the Mdantsane Mall and the 75 000sqm Hemingways Mall have all contributed to the generally positive outlook, the minimal reduction in the number of estate agents and the general stability of property prices.”


Raffa says local property market growth has indeed been affected by the general economic slowdown, but that various initiatives such as the East London Industrial Development Zone have cushioned the worst of the effects, and that “there are now definite signs of a recovery with better attendances at show days, more deals being signed and an improvement in prices”.


He notes that in the Esplanade area, for example, there is now good demand for newly developed apartments, and that investors are active in buying older beachfront properties and converting them into upmarket guest houses.


“Moreover, nearby Quigney is seen as becoming an avant-garde area similar to the likes of Sea Point and Woodstock in Cape Town or The Bluff in Durban and refurbishments and upgrades characterise that area right now.


 “As for the sectional title market, there is limited stock and strong demand. Developers would do well to take note of the opportunities represented by older highrise apartment blocks along the beach and beach homes on good size stands, some of which are adjacent to hotels and restaurants.”


Freehold property is also doing reasonably well, Raffa says, notably in Vincent, Berea, Nahoon, Beacon Bay and Gonubie. Prices in general are realistic, but with limited new development taking place, the scene is set for good growth.

Examples of mandates on his books right now include properties from R350 000 in Southernwood, R650 000 to R850 000 in the Quigney area and from R1,8m in Beacon Bay, Nahoon and Vincent Heights.