Property sales and new developments on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast are indicative of a positive market sentiment despite the chaos and drama of the past 18+ months
WORDS: MARANA BRAND
If sales and new property developments and expansions to existing developments are anything to go by, the Kwazulu-Natal North Coast is slowly starting to rise from the ashes of a dismal economic climate. Here are a few noteworthy areas where the property market is on the up.
UMHLANGA ON DURBAN’S NORTH COAST
“Despite the lockdown, the residential property market in this perennially sought-after region of Kwazulu-Natal North Coast has shown resilience, and we are continuing to experience activity across all price bands. Most notably, family homes priced under R5m are selling quickly while developments are attracting a significant amount of investor interest,” says Carol Reynolds, Pam Golding Properties area principal for Durban Coastal. With the general volatility in global markets, it seems that property has re-emerged as an investment safe haven, she says. They have noticed a positive influx of Johannesburg buyers, while local property developments in particular, have attracted investment interest from out-of-towners.
Seeff has a similar experience. “The area north of Durban has become one of the hottest markets for semigration buyers specifically,” says Brett Botsis, Seeff’s licensee for this area. “We are inundated with enquiries from high net worth (HNW) buyers semigrating to gated estates or upmarket sectional title properties close to the beach. These buyers are confident and relaxed about investing their money in high-end properties, so much so that we have seen significant prices paid for luxury homes this year including a penthouse in Umhlanga Rocks sold for R27.5m.” The market has remained active specifically in the lower priced R2.5m to R5m range and also the R10m to R30m price bracket in the gated estates and upmarket beachfront sectional title blocks.
“In terms of local buyers, the highest demand is from people in Gauteng and other upcountry provinces who are either looking to move to the Kwazulu-Natal North Coast area permanently, or invest in a second home to take advantage of the WFH (work from home) trend thus escaping the confines of the pandemic,” he says. Popular properties include holiday homes close to the beach with semigration buyers looking for a mix of security and lifestyle, hence the demand for gated estate homes and sectional title properties.
“Properties have always maintained their value and have largely increased over the years with current growth at around 5% per annum depending on the property and price category,” says Botsis. “There is also an active rental market with landlords achieving good rental returns.” According to Gareth Bailey, area principal for Pam Golding Properties Durban Coastal, sectional title and estate homes – including sectional title units within estates – have proven more popular in recent years, but freestanding homes continue to sell, especially those in low-supply areas such as on the beachfront of Kwazulu-Natal North Coast, particularly frontline apartments, for which there is a high demand as long as it is realistically priced. “While the market has been favourable, buyers and sellers are more informed than ever before and most have a good understanding of what constitutes a reasonable and acceptable market-related price,” he says.
NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN THE AREA
The Kent in La Lucia has been particularly well received because of its unique offering in the heart of La Lucia – a highly desirable suburb with easy access to the beach, office parks and schools, says Reynolds. “It is now 95% sold out, with a mix of local and upcountry buyers. This residential development ticks all the boxes for both end-users and pure investors, and is ideal for young professionals who work in the area and are seeking ‘green’ features, convenience, location and sea views. Construction has already commenced.”
Another development, Onyx, in New Town Centre in the Gateway area of uMhlanga, is 90% sold out, says Bailey. “The developers have converted some of the remaining one-bedroom units into trendy two-bedroom, two-bathroom New York style loft apartments with double volume living areas. Only a few are still available, selling from R2.595m.” The vibey Gateway area is seeing an increasing number of first-time buyers, given the low interest rates and affordable properties being brought to market.
“We’re also marketing units in Oceans, uMhlanga, specifically in the hotel tower where Radisson Hotel has taken the first 16 floors. Here we are selling one- and two-bedroomed apartments priced from just over R3m a further nine floors above,” he says. This concept has proven successful as private investors in the residential units enjoy the prestigious association with the upmarket Radisson brand, Bailey says, which buoys rental demand and rental rates – and with both short- and long-term rentals permitted. “Ultimately there will be three towers in this new development.”
ZULULANI ESTATE FOR RETIREES
A total investment estimated at R1bn will give rise to a senior living community of international standards at Zululami Luxury Coastal Estate located on the shores of Sheffield Beach, Kwazulu-Natal North Coast. Estate developers Collins Residential and leading senior living developer and operator Auria Senior Living have concluded a landmark deal that will attract locals and foreigners seeking senior living in an unparalleled location. The Auria community will offer an extraordinary level of development, service, hospitality and care.
“Coupled with access to Zululami’s magnificent environment, the sublime KZN climate, our prized beaches, bush, sporting, cultural and tourism drawcards, this will be, without doubt, the most desirable place to spend one’s finest years,” says director Murray Collins, Collins Residential. Auria Senior Living’s community, Coral Cove within Zululami, will consist of a wide range of intentional and beautifully designed residences, an engaging lifestyle and superlative wellness and care offering – all on par with leading international retirement communities. Living options will include independent living (freestanding houses and apartments), tailored assisted living accommodation and extensive dining, recreation and hospitality services, as well as specialised care facilities
WESTOWN IN SHONGWENI
The start of construction on Westown, the first retail and mixed-use component within Shongweni, is expected to start in January next year, says asset management, property development and retail leasing company Fundamentum’s CEO, Carlos Correia. The roll-out of the rest of the project, such as residential, business, etc., is anticipated for May next year.
Working together with key stakeholders eThekwini Municipality and Tongaat Hulett Property, Fundamentum will oversee the development of a new high street retail and mixed-use development. The mixed-use urban node precinct offers a wide range of residential options, as well as commercial and business park activities.
“We believe Westown with an urban core at its heart, will be a prime example of an inclusive, high energy, safe and secure retail and mixed-use urban development,” says Correia. “It will add to the existing natural character and environment of Shongweni, with a specific focus on building and expanding the current active recreational activities of equestrian shows and horse-riding, mountain biking and trail running. This ‘new-town-in-town’ will create a new economic base for this sub-region of which much will be grounded in urban sustainability.”