A small-town feel combined with all the amenities of a much bigger place, make Ballito one of KZN's most rapidly developing areas.
Since its establishment in 1954, when it was marketed exclusively as a holiday resort, Ballito has been one of South Africa’s most popular holiday towns.
But, with the construction of the new King Shaka Airport, the movement of large businesses to the Umhlanga Ridge area a mere 20-minutes’ drive away, and the development of several secure, gated estates in the resort town is fast turning into a popular suburb for year-round living. Many businesses have set up shop in Ballito itself, too, and there is a significant collection of home- and decor-related businesses in the area – a direct response to the amount of residential development happening in the town.
That said, the seaside-village atmosphere remains. The lifestyle in the area is laid-back, and residents take full advantage of the surf-based activities on offer, with fishing, surfing, paddle- boarding and swimming being popular activities, and a 2,5km promenade a boon for joggers and walkers. The Gunston 500 surfing contest was renamed the Mr Price Pro and now takes place in Ballito in July – testament to the year-round beautiful weather on the KZN North Coast.
Educational institutions in the area are mainly private schools, including Ashton College and Trinity House, with Crawford North Coast in neighbouring Westbrook Beach and, at Mount Richmore, Curro School, which opened earlier this year. Umhlali Primary is the only government school in the area and parents who want to send their children to a government high school have to travel to Durban North.
Who’s buying and what are they paying?
With the business community along the North Coast ﬂourishing in recent years, both commercial and residential property prices have increased steadily, says Neil de Beer of Pam Golding Properties Ballito. ‘New properties in Ballito are constantly in demand and realistically priced homes are taken up as quickly as they are listed,’ he adds. ‘Ballito caters for a broad cross-section of buyers, ranging from those after entry-level one-bedroom apartments at R800 000 and two-bedroom units from R950 000, to those shopping in the middle market where two- and three-bedroom apartments and homes are priced between R1,5 million and R2,5 million. At the top end, a luxury four- or five-bedroom unit in an upmarket apartment building will achieve over R3,5 million and a four-, five- or six-bedroom stand-alone home or a house within a luxury lifestyle development is R5,5 million and more.’
Myles Wakefield, CEO of Wakefields Real Estate, which has a branch in Ballito, characterises Ballito (in which he includes Salt Rock and Tinley Manor) as a gated-estate haven: ‘The enormous range of gated estates that offer an exceptional lifestyle differentiates it from other areas. Larger estates include Simbithi Eco and Golf Estate, Seaward Estate, Zimbali Coastal Resort, Umhlali Country Club Golf Estate, Palm Lakes Family Estate, Brettenwood and Mount Richmore. Smaller estates include Westbrook Forest Lodge, Port Zimbali, Ballito Manor Estate, Sheffield Manor Estate, Hilltops and Westbrook Beach Estate.’
Wakefield adds that there are also plenty of beautiful homes situated outside the estates: ‘Many have outstanding sea views and don’t attract the levies that come with estate living. One can purchase a unit on the beachfront walkway at a really good price. Value for money in the Ballito area is phenomenal at present, but this won’t last long. Sales of permanent residential homes have increased in the past year.’
A new development on the beachfront with direct access to the promenade is @88, due for completion at the end of August. ‘Only the penthouse remains unsold – a clear indicator of the demand for upmarket properties in leading positions,’ says Wakefield, adding that the 133m2 penthouse – selling for R5,45 million – boasts a beach view, a 35m2 balcony and a garage.
According to Thomas Hodges, principal at Premier Real Estate, many buyers are from out of town, and live countrywide. He adds that demand for properties in gated estates is always high but that along the beachfront, upmarket complexes such as Ballito Manors (where a two- bedroom is upwards of R3,2 million) are popular, as are Patricia and Minerva roads – both for their proximity to the beach and outstanding views. ‘There are lots of plans for future development,’ he says. ‘A Virgin Active is the first new development this year and it will be followed by a new town centre on the other side of the N2, which is being touted as having an international-standard convention centre.’
Where to eat, drink and shop
One of the major attractions to the Ballito area is the proliferation of shops and restaurants and there are several large shopping centres, including the 80-store Ballito Lifestyle Centre (ballitolifestylecentre.co.za) – a mecca of restaurants and retail outlets – as well as the Junction (ballitojunctionshopping.co.za) and Ballito Bay Mall on Link Road (032 946 3905). The extremely popular Litchi Orchard Market (litchiorchard.co.za) means Ballito residents don’t even have to travel to Durban to purchase homemade goodies, and the Sunday and monthly evening markets are a festive community gathering spot. There is also a wealth of choice for the gourmand, with our pick of the restaurants being Sage Café (sagecafe.co.za), Bistro 98 (bistro98.co.za), Beira Alta (beiraalta.co.za) and Gianni’s Ristorante (giannis.co.za).
Ballito at a glance
- 60% freehold properties
- 15% estate-based properties
- 25% sectional title properties
- 44% recent buyers aged 36 to 49
- 22% recent buyers aged 18 to 35
- 34% recent buyers over 50 years
- R2.2million average price of freehold properties
- R1.8million average price of sectional title properties
- R1.6million average price of estate-based properties
Experience the bustling town of Ballito here: