The town has boomed in recent years and what started life as a small sleepy seaside village has blossomed into “the place to be”.
Scores of small towns around of South Africa were named after famous cities and villages that are dotted around the world. Ramsgate, Margate, Glencoe and suburbs such as Morningside and Glenwood in KZN were all named by settlers who were hankering for home.
The founders of Ballito, however, had different ideas and the busy town on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal was named after a UK company that makes bras and stockings and other items of underwear. Despite the somewhat dubious name (can you imagine the uproar today if someone tried to name a village Playtex or Jockey) the town has boomed in recent years and what started life as a small sleepy seaside village has blossomed into “the place to be”.
The town has come a long way since its humble beginnings – in 1954, vacant land was advertised from around the R800 mark. The opening of King Shaka International Airport just down the road has undoubtedly been good for business and the area now boasts three shopping malls: the Lifestyle Centre, the Junction and the Ballito Bay Mall. Always popular with holidaymakers, the town has literally exploded with those looking for their place in the sun in recent times, and the town now hosts the annual ASP PRIME Mr Price Pro, an international surfing competition.
While holidaymakers and tourism are always a welcome boost, permanent residents are always going to be the lifeblood of any community and according to Neil de Beer from Pam Golding Properties, Ballito is quickly becoming a target for working commuters overflowing from Durban and uMhlanga.
This isn’t really surprising given that the town is only 45km from Durban on the nearby N2. The airport has also drawn an increasing number of investors to the area and, according to De Beer, many commercial and industrial players initially adopted a wait and see attitude, but enquiries are now flooding in.
Perhaps one of the major draw-cards for those looking to buy a residential property is the choice that investors currently enjoy. Yes, there are properties that sell for millions, but there are also homes that have been built to suit less padded pockets.
“Ballito caters for a broad cross section of buyers, ranging from entry level one bedroom apartments at R800 000 and two bedroom units from R950 000,” says De Beer. “The middle market offers two- and three-bedroom apartments and homes priced between R1.5-million and R2.5-million, while at the top end of the market, a luxury four- or five-bedroom unit in an upmarket apartment building will achieve in excess of R3.5-million and a four-, five- or six-bedroom standalone home within a luxury lifestyle development will set you back from R5.5-million upwards.”
Interestingly, the airport has afforded a totally new form of investment and what once would have been considered a place for the family to visit during the holiday season become a permanent residence for many executives who have moved their families out of Gauteng and down to the seaside while they fly in to work on a weekly basis.
It seems that Ballito has well and truly arrived. It’s time to discard your underwear and get your swimsuit on!