29 Aug 2011
Estate agents are reporting an increase in residential property activity in some areas of KwaZulu-Natal saying the area is poised for growth.
According to Pam Golding Properties (PGP), the KwaZuluNatal region is poised to capitalise on the considerable potential for positive economic growth and development.
Locations north of Durban including Durban North, La Lucia, Umhlanga, Mount Edgecombe and Ballito are seeing increased activity. This is due to the fact that this has become a key growth corridor rather than the overt recovery of the property market nationally.
Greta Daniel, sales and operations manager for PGP Franchise Services says since 2010, KZN has seen sales volumes pick up gradually. Property values have increased, albeit reflecting moderate growth.
“We also note an increase in sales at the top end of the market in this region since high end sellers generally are able to sit out challenging market conditions until more favourable trading conditions return.”
Daniel explains that for the first time in two years, the greater Durban area and coastal towns are experiencing renewed interest at the top end of the market.
“A combination of confidence in excellent locations or estates and good pricing appears to be culminating in offers acceptable to sellers,” says Daniel.
Umhlanga has seen increased activity in freestanding homes priced between R4 and R6 million, Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estates remain sought after with homes selling from R4 million and up to R20 million.
In Ballito, now seen as a residential rather than a holiday town and well positioned between the ports of Durban and Richards Bay, offers are being made in the R10 and R15 million price ranges.
A number of new developments in Ballito, Sheffield and Salt Rock offer first time buyers more affordable options from one bedroom flats at R499 000 to three bedrooms at R990 000.
Daniel says in the Morningside area exclusive townhouses are priced between R3 and R4 million, Durban North also reports a strong demand for homes under R3 million and interest in homes in the higher prices.
In Margate, there has been increased interest with offers on homes in the R3 and R6 million price ranges.
She says other areas which offer value and good buying opportunities include Westville and Pinetown.
She adds that Pinetown draws home buyers from a large catchment area and because of its value for money homes, is very popular among young buyers, whether singles, professionals or young families. First time buyers are mainly in the price range from R400 000 to R600 000 for flats, while average house prices are in the region of R750 000 to R800 000.
John Pechey, broker and owner of RE/MAX Dolphin Realtors says buyers are very much interested in Ballito as it is recognised as one of the fastest growing nodes in the country.
He says that established in 1954, the first advertisements inviting potential property investors to Ballito Bay had property priced for just R790. By the early 1960s, Ballito had become a sought-after holiday destination that stretched from Willard Beach to Clark Bay, Salmon Bay and Port Zimbali.
“We have seen that sales volumes have increased steadily over the last year with as many as 25 percent of property investors entering the area looking to buy their second home,” says Pechey.
Buyers making up about half of all the investors purchasing property in the area are young professionals. Many of these buyers are currently working overseas and want to enter the market as an investment with the idea of returning to this country in the future. The remaining 25 percent of buyers are families looking to move into Ballito as a lifestyle choice.
Gated estates are the first choice among the young professionals and families wanting to buy in the area. They are highly sought-after and generally provide a good return on investment, says Pechey.
Pechey says that they have very few distressed property sales in Ballito compared to other areas around the country. While the recession has definitely levelled the playing fields for property investors, property pricing in Ballito has held its own compared to other parts of the country.
A two-bedroom apartment will cost in the region of between R800 000 to R1.1 million, mid-level homes with special features could fetch a price tag around the R3.5 million bracket and top-end homes could sell for anything between R6 million and R14 million mark, depending on location and features, says Pechey.
“Ballito offers opportunity for investors looking to buy and live in the area as well as those looking to buy the perfect holiday home.”
According to Seeff Properties, the Bluff is one of Durban’s best kept secrets, thanks to its prime location on the South Coast and its attraction as one of the world’s top ten destinations at Brighton Beach’s Cave Rock.
Karen Forbay, principal of Seeff Properties Bluff says the Bluff offers incredible value for money, unbeatable sea views and beach access and is considered one of the safer suburbs of Durban with strong active community policing.
“The Bluff boasts superb buys for investors and home hunters alike, with among its greatest features being value for money,” says Forbay.
She says the market remains a buyers’ market with a lot of demand for properties priced between R700 000 and R950 000. Properties in the R400 000 and R500 000 price range in Wentworth and Merebank sell on average within three weeks of coming onto the market. The demand for properties over R1.5 million is still weak but slowly improving.
As an example, Forbay says a double-storey on Seeff Bluff’s book is priced at R1.65 million and is set in a prime position off Marine Drive. In central Bluff, R890 000 will buy a three bedroom, two bathroom home close to all amenities, she says.
“We have seen a 132 percent increase in sales from 2010 to 2011 and we believe the market will continue with its slow and steady improvement.” – Denise Mhlanga
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