Dbn's Queensburgh still good value

21 Dec 2006

Once known as the Old Main Line, Queensburgh as an area comprises 10 suburbs which together offer a full range of pricing options, from entry level buyers to those at the luxury end of the market.

The area, which boasts 22 000 freestanding houses alone, is one of the last outposts in the greater Durban area where entry level buyers with earning power of R10 000 per month can afford homes of their own, says Ross Sibbald, co-director of KwaZulu-Natal's leading property data supplier, PropValues.

Commenting on recently released statistics on the area, which has been newly incorporated into the PropValues stable, Sibbald said the slowdown in property price growth experienced in the third quarter of 2006 would ensure that the market remained affordable for lower and middle income buyers. Having shown growth of 12 percent for the second quarter of the year, the latest PropValues data shows that growth has reduced to around 2 percent as sellers struggle to realize their prices.

Advancing reasons for this, Andre Simms, director of both Acutts Queensburgh and Sky Properties Queensburgh, said sales volumes were consistent but at prices dictated by buyers.

"The interest rate increases of the past six months have stabilized the market," he said. He added that this had in turn, by putting pressure on buyer affordability, led to buyers increasingly controlling sellers' pricing.

"Buyers know that six months ago, they could have bought a R1 million house with monthly bond repayments of R10 000, the same amount as they would now be paying for an R850 000 house, owing to the increase in the interest rate. With this in mind, they are digging in their heels at paying more than they consider necessary, a situation that is playing into their hands as a result of an increased stock pool and accordingly a wider range of choice."

According to Sibbald, the average price of a freestanding house in Queensburgh, while having risen from R590 649 to R663,802 in the last 11 months, is still substantially below Absa's average, which in the bank's October House Price Index is R830 700.

During the period January 2006 to October 2006, he noted that PropValues subscribers in the area turned over more than 300 unit sales with a total value of more than R190m. Of these, the highest priced home sold for R1,65m while the lowest changed hands for R180k. Well priced properties were selling within weeks of being listed, he added, the average period of time being 49 days and for an average price of R638 594, which made it one of the most affordable and fast moving areas in Durban.

Seaview and Rossburgh were currently the most sought-after suburbs for entry level buyers, owing to the availability of one and two bedroom flats for between R250k and R300k, said Simms. Those at the other end of the buying scale were focusing their sights on Northdene and Malvern, where properties can reach listing prices of up to R3m.

Mostly, however, buyers tended to be looking in the R600k to R800k price range, he said. Drawn to the area by its proximity to the city and reputation for being one of the province's safest locales, stock in this price range remained in demand and generally sold within a week of listing, Simms said. - Ingrid Smit

For more information contact (031) 266 0035 ross@propvalues.co.za or visit www.propvalues.co.za.

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