03 May 2013
Recent years have seen explosive growth taking place in the areas north of Durban, namely the La Lucia and Umhlanga, Ridgeside and Gateway areas, with businesses migrating to these new hubs and families, executives and other home buyers gravitating towards modern residential homes and apartments in the vicinity.
This is according to Elwyn Schenk, Pam Golding Properties (PGP) area principal in Umhlanga and Umdloti, who says banks, major corporates and professional firms have been attracted by the beautiful topography and scenic sea views as well as the convenience of being based in the areas north of Durban – easily accessible to the city of Durban in the south, Ballito in the north and King Shaka International Airport.
He says the appeal of Umhlanga village and Gateway shopping centre has further enhanced the desirability of the region for home buyers.
Clive Greene, PGP’s area principal in Ballito, says currently they are experiencing a marked increase in enquiries from people wanting to live further out of the city. There is a feeling that Ballito and surrounds offer a more relaxed type of lifestyle with easy access to great beaches, the new airport, new shopping centres and with Umhlanga only 20 minutes away. In addition, the large residential estates such as Zimbali, Simbithi, Dunkirk and Brettonwood offer an attractive and unique lifestyle.
Greene says Ballito continues to evolve from being predominantly a holiday area to more permanent living and over the past five years the mix has changed from approximately 30 percent permanent residential to approximately 50 percent.
“A new interchange which is being built off the N3 will provide even easier access into Ballito, which will have a major positive impact. In addition, the road from the N3 into Ballito is to be widened to four lanes, which will alleviate the current traffic congestion.”
Greene says as there is a demand for rental property, buy-to-let investors are returning to the market, but in the low price range, under R1 million. He says the residential estates offer a secure and relaxed lifestyle and have attracted buyers looking to retire in the future, and there is also a need for a proper retirement village at the right price.
With constant advances in technology they are also seeing an increase in work from home buyers, he says.
Generally, Greene says the demand for freestanding homes is in the lower end of the market in the estates, leisure market and the suburbs, particularly under R2.5 million. In Zimbali and Simbithi the demand is around the R3 million to R5 million price range, and in the other areas mainly below R3 million with a strong demand for homes in the R1 million to R2 million mark.
In the leisure market the demand is mainly for beachfront apartments or close to the beach, and homes priced under R2.5 million. There is also a need for developments in a secure environment but again in the lower price bracket, mainly from R1 million to R2 million.
Small apartments are selling but location is all important for this type of unit and should preferably be as close to the business area of Ballito as possible. However, the high price of land is an inhibiting factor for developers to launch a development of this nature.
Greene says at the top end there are currently some notable properties on the market in Zimbali, Ballito, Salt Rock and Sheffield, which are priced between R10 million and R35 million.
He says there is no doubt that activity in the market has picked up and he believes this will lead to a greater number of successfully concluded sales going forward. "The December 2012/January 2013 holidays brought in a great deal of holidaymakers and for the first time in years the town of Ballito has been full.”
Greene says they anticipate this will help boost sales of holiday apartments as there has been a demand for holiday letting. This trend provides a confidence boost for buy-to-let investors under R2.5 million as they can at least cover running expenses and in some instances show a small return, he says.
The residential property market in Umhlanga, Schenk says caters for all price ranges with two bedroom, one bathroom apartments near Gateway priced at around R1 million and freestanding homes right on the beach priced from R14.5 million to R21.5 million, says Greene.
“In Umdloti the housing market offers good value for money, for example in Mahe, an apartment building overlooking the tidal pool with spectacular views right up and down the coast, has three beautifully presented units priced from R3.2 million to R3.5 million.”
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