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Iconic mansions in Durban's Berea offer value to discerning buyers

18 Nov 2019

Despite the constrained market on the Berea in Durban, the market remains active in the area for the most expensive sectional title and freehold properties.

This mansion in Durban's Berea was the highest priced freehold property sold for R10.1 million by Seeff in the past two years.

Roger Hoaten, Seeff’s MD in Berea, says the Seeff office here has recently sold the most expensive sectional title unit in the history of the Berea (a penthouse of R18 million) as well as the highest priced freehold property sold in the past two years (a R10.1 million mansion sold earlier this year).

“Against the backdrop of a flat market on the Berea, with both limited stock and few buyers, premier high-value properties continue to trade, albeit it at very competitive prices in comparison with similar properties in gated estates on the North Coast and in Hillcrest,” says Hoaten.

The convenience and security of these gated estates on the North Coast, South Coast and in the Hillcrest areas of Durban, together with downsizing and ‘empty nest syndrome’ has resulted in the migration of many of the owners of iconic Berea homes to other areas.

This six bedroom, five bathroom home in Essenwood, Durban, offers expansive living areas, an outdoor entertainment area, pool and gazebo. It is selling for R7 million - click here to view.

“These homes continue to offer great value and many have significant historical provenance,” he says.

“In comparison with most modern homes in the North, South and West, Berea’s mansions offer expansive proportions, majestic gardens and magnificent views of Durban’s city, harbour and coastline.”

These homes generally range in price from around R5 million to R15 million.

Heritage homes

Hoaten says an interesting and unique facet of the Berea is the number of homes listed or qualifying as heritage homes, which require specific approval in order to be restored, renovated or demolished.

The demolition, renovation and restoration of these homes remain a controversial issue for buyers, many of whom want to develop more modern offerings and cannot do so due to prevailing legislation.

This stately mansion with sebnsational views in Glenwood, Durban,offers five bedrooms, five-and-a-half bathrooms and is set in a park-like garden.It is selling for R.6.95 million - click here to view.

Some argue that this is stifling the sale of properties and development in general on the Berea. Others are equally passionate regarding the need to protect the cultural heritage of the Berea.

South Africa has recognised the value of heritage and its constitution allows the provinces to manage their own heritage matters. Legislation in KwaZulu-Natal has provided for the conservation of places of cultural significance and buildings of over 60 years old for present and future generations.

With regard to the property market in the Berea, it is important that buyers, sellers and owners need to determine the age of the property in question and the limitations that may be imposed on any redevelopment, renovation or restoration that may be contemplated.

“Seeff Berea is a boutique agency operating out of a landmark property called The Manor House, built by the founder of Tongaat Hulett Sugar, Sir James Liege Hulett, in 1905. It typifies the colonial period style of many of the exclusive Berea mansions on offer in the area,” says Hoaten.

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