The Eastern Cape is a diverse province with varying climates, a plethora of plant life and landscapes ranging from the parched, sheep farming district of the Great Karoo through the verdant forests of the Keiskamma Valley and Tsitsikamma National Park to the unspoilt beaches, lagoons and rocky cliffs of the aptly-named Wild Coast.
It has a population of 6,9m, the majority of whom speak isiXhosa, and it houses the hub of SA’s motor industry in Uitenhage near the major coastal city of Port Elizabeth. Some of the world’s biggest vehicle manufacturers including Ford, Volkswagen, General Motors and Daimler Chrysler have plants in this area of the Eastern Cape, and the vehicle and parts markets have a major influence on local property demand.
The province does however have another major port, East London, as well as the university city of Grahamstown, as well as several more large centres such as Bisho (the capital), King William’s Town, Mthatha, Graaff-Reinet, Cradock, Stutterheim, Aliwal North, Jeffrey’s Bay and St Francis, where the property markets are generally driven by agriculture, tourism, retirement and demand among public servants.
Bisho and nearby King William’s Town have for example enjoyed increased demand for property of late given that a number of government departments have now moved from Port Elizabeth to the Eastern Cape capital, while property in Jeffrey’s Bay (renowned as a top surfing destination) is starting to attract large numbers of retirees from inland.
In Port Elizabeth, there is a huge variety of property as befits any big city. The major attractions of Port Elizabeth property include excellent sea views and proximity to all amenities including good schools, convenient shopping, entertainment and sports venues, hospitals and a regional airport. A new deepwater harbour and trade zone are under development at Coega, 20 minutes from the city centre, and this is expected to boost property sales as it takes shape.
East London, situated on the Wild Coast, boasts pristine beaches and SA’s only natural river harbour. Its economy and property market are mostly export driven and it boasts some of the most sought-after real estate in the country, along the Nahoon riverfront. It is also in a malaria-free area and the many game farms and reserves close by are increasingly popular among SA and foreign tourists.