The residential property market in the middle to lower south coast area of KwaZulu-Natal remains resilient, with value for money one of the region's key selling points.
In Pennington, homes with direct beach access are selling for up to around R3,5m, while those with sea views sell priced mainly up to approximately R1,3m. Pam Golding Properties' (PGP) area principal Stefan Nel says buyers include a mix of upcountry buyers seeking holiday homes which they can share with friends or family, and either small freestanding homes or those within a secure complex for retirement purposes.
"In addition, we anticipate that the new Arbour Town giant shopping mall currently under construction in nearby Amanzimtoti will have a positive impact on residential property along this entire area of the south coast. This is coupled with the fact that higher rentals are now being achieved - some 15-20% more than previously. Homes to rent offer good value, ranging on average from R3k for a three bedroom home with single garage to R5k per month for a good quality four bedroom home with double garage," says Nel.
Further south at Umtentweni Herman and Carolina Reyneke of PGP report that an increasing number of enquiries are from local buyers, including those from elsewhere in KwaZulu-Natal.
"We are seeing a marked trend towards those wishing to purchase homes for permanent residence - including retirement - which bodes well for confidence in our area. Buyers are becoming aware of the huge value for money which we offer. For someone looking to retire, an example of the excellent value is a beautiful two bedroom sectional title home within a secure complex which we are currently marketing at just R550k.
"This includes its own private garden and undercover patio. The average price of a three bedroom, two bathroom home with quality fittings ie a good sized family home, is between R800k and R1m. Umtentweni is an attractive area, popular among professionals, with neat, well-maintained homes and neighbourhoods," adds Carolina.
Being more a location for permanent residence rather than a holiday home/holiday letting scenario, the Port Shepstone the property market remains active, with most buyers those at the upper end of the market, report Veshad Pooran and Nirvana Maharaj, PGP area principals.
"The value of properties currently being sold ranges from R800k to R1,5m. With some stands in the Port Shepstone area in the region of 2,500sq m, we're also currently receiving calls from a number of owners wanting to subdivide stands to sell, in order to reduce their rates bill," comments Pooran.
Further down the south coast Dina Porteous, PGP area principal for the areas Shelly Beach, St Michael's on Sea, Uvongo, Margate, Ramsgate and Southbroom, says in Shelly Beach sales remain steady, with average prices currently around the R1,3m mark.
"The Shelly Beach market is driven by both the residential and the holiday market as it is the 'new area' of the south coast. Gated estate living close to schools and major shopping areas proves a compelling drawcard for permanent residents relocating here from other areas. Uvongo, a more established residential area, offers good buying opportunities for those prepared to do some renovations.
"Average prices here are up from approximately R915k in 2006 to R1,15m this year. Complexes such as St Michael's Manor in St Michael's on sea offer clients excellent value for money with an average price per square metre of R5,500, making them affordable and ideal for retirement."
Porteous says in Margate the sectional title and general residential markets have moved in opposite directions in terms of price appreciation.
"While the average sectional title unit is currently around R2,8m - up from R1m in 2006, the residential market stands at an average price of around R660k, down from R1m two years ago. This could be due to the fact that most of the old beachfront lodges have made way for upmarket beachfront apartments for sunseekers, resulting in the Margate residential market 'moving' to Shelly Beach.
"One of the most consistent markets in the area, Ramsgate's sales remain stable as does the average price of approximately R1,2m."
She says upmarket Southbroom, with its top golf course and well-kept common areas, attracts the high end buyer particularly those seeking a tranquil coastal hideaway, and the property owners' list reads like a who's who.
"Although there are very few sectional title properties available the attraction here seems to be for gentleman's residences," says Porteous.
In the Port Edward area, PGP's Cathy du Plessis says most buyers seeking property in the area are cash buyers, looking for good buys for investment. She says there is also interest in vacant land mainly from upcountry buyers - again mainly for investment purposes.
"Enquiries generally are for tracts of land in the region of 22,000sq m and priced around the R3m mark. This bodes well for future development as these are savvy investors with an eye on the future, securing land with a view to development when the market is ready."
She says, in addition, there remains a steady demand for homes for permanent letting, mainly in the R3,500/R4k per month price range.
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