KZN North Coast region SA’s new property capital

KZN North Coast region SA’s new property capital

Aerial view of the eMdloti coastline.

With King Shaka International Airport on its doorstep, and nine international flight routes – including three BA flights a week from London’s Heathrow airport – the North Coast region of KwaZulu-Natal continues to attract an influx of home buyers from the rest of the province, Gauteng and other regions, and even globally.

Says Carol Reynolds, Pam Golding Properties area principal for Durban Coastal: “With its laidback ambience, golden beaches, idyllic year-round climate and abundance of good schools, semigration to this coastal belt between Durban North and Ballito remains a recurring trend, particularly in Sibaya, eMdloti and uMhlanga. This includes Gauteng commuters seeking an unbeatable lifestyle while the main breadwinner travels to work as needed. It’s a quick and easy commute, avoiding traffic congestion while you sit in air-conditioned comfort in the cabin.”

Durban has won best lifestyle city in South Africa award for the past few consecutive years according to the Mercer Index, further underlining investor confidence in a province with a highly desirable lifestyle and sound value-for-money homes. This is coupled with ongoing investment in commercial property in hubs such as uMhlanga Ridge and La Lucia Ridge. And with no shortage of hospitals and medical facilities, the region is also benefiting from a growing retirement market.

Says Reynolds: “Whether you choose Durban, Durban North, uMhlanga, eMdloti or Ballito, you have everything on your doorstep, including all amenities, office parks and a range of residential property options from modern apartment buildings and spacious freestanding family homes to secure lifestyle estates.”

She says people are looking for security and lifestyle – the ability to enjoy the freedom of cycling, walking and playing golf within secure environments with dams, lakes, forest and walkways, as well as the beach.

“Also critical is price, as well-priced stock moves while over-priced properties sit on the market. Buyers are also showing a preference for renovated homes rather than fixer-uppers. In addition, sea views are sought after despite premium pricing – and we find the higher-priced sea-facing units in developments sell out considerably ahead of those without sea views.

“In terms of residential property, this region has also experienced steady growth year on year, whereas some other regions have experienced peaks and troughs.”

Reynolds says new developments have sold well. In uMhlanga – an area comprising about 70% sectional title units – these include Coral Point and Le Boulevard, which are either nearly or fully sold out, while in Durban North, catering for a huge demand, all 26 units phases one and two in the new Stonehurst development were sold out in a few weeks, well priced under R1.5 million.

“Upmarket developments are fetching top dollar – Gold Coast Estate in Sibaya sold out quickly, with plot and plan package deals selling at between R5m and R12m on relatively small plots of around 500m2 to 600m2 and vacant plots peaking at R6m. Among other top end sales, we sold a frontline penthouse apartment at the Pearls in uMhlanga for R30m. Encouragingly, we are seeing a number of cash sales across all price bands.

“Further developments are also on the cards – a prime beachfront block in uMhlanga, and in Sibaya, a new development with three apartment blocks as well as a huge resort-style development near the casino.”

Reynolds says sectional title in uMhlanga and freestanding homes in central and upper Durban North are still performing well, as are security estates in uMhlanga. Buyers of development units range from end-users and Johannesburg commuters to investors and people seeking a lifestyle change.

“We constantly see a lot of young families buying in Durban North because of its excellent schools, convenient lifestyle and affordably priced homes. In central Durban North the average family home sells for R3.5m to R4m, so this price band is extremely popular and active.”

With over 10 excellent schools in a radius of a few kilometres, and with a majority of freehold homes, Durban North is the most convenient suburb for raising a family, and so the schools continue to drive demand. This is a non-seasonal, stable market with well-priced homes on level stands enjoying good proportions and attractive gardens. It also has a central self-contained business district, so residents are able to live and work in the area, without ever having to drive for more than five minutes, and with petrol prices increasing, less travel time is becoming more and more appealing.

In Signature Sibaya, Reynolds says plots of vacant land of about 2 000m2 are selling at R12.5m. “Sibaya prices as a whole have surged from R25 000/m2 in 2016, when Ocean Dunes was first launched, to over R40 000/m2 for new developments. In Signature Sibaya, further capital is being invested in new homes which will attract prices upwards of R20m to R30m when completed.

“Sibaya has provided a huge boost for this region – the new private university planned by AdvTech and private schools are stimulating further interest in the area. The improvements in the road infrastructure near Gateway and Cornubia have also had a positive impact on areas such as Prestondale and Gateway, while the conversion of uMhlanga College to Reddam has also been a positive upgrade for the area.”

Adds Reynolds: “Not to be overlooked is nearby eMdloti, which is currently one of our busiest suburbs, which we believe is driven by increased activity in Sibaya, which has bridged the distance between the hub of uMhlanga and eMdloti. In addition, while Sibaya offers spectacular views, there is a limited stretch of prime beach land in eMdloti which attracts those who want to live on the beach.”

In Ballito, to the north of eMdloti, Pam Golding Properties area principal Farrah Williamson says homes within security estates priced between R1.8m and about R6m are most in demand, in estates such as Umhlali Country Club, Ballito Gardens, Simbithi, Brettenwood Coastal Estate, Dunkirk and Port Zimbali.

“Over the years Ballito has emerged from its former image as a holiday town to become a primary residential destination with about 70% permanent residents. Whereas Ballito attracts buyers from around KZN and young families relocating from Johannesburg, Zimbali draws mainly Johannesburg buyers.”