New Town in Umhlanga, KZN, has come a long way over the last few years.
About New Town
Twenty years or so ago, Umhlanga was a relatively small, but popular seaside town and although there were a few shops around, it certainly didn't look anything like a business centre. Then Gateway Theatre of Shopping complex was opened and in what seemed like an instant, New Town was born. Apartment blocks sprang up like mushrooms and it very quickly became the place to be.
Lightstone statistics reflect the area holds wide appeal for the middle-aged sector, recording that 43% of recent buyers were between the ages of 36 and 49. While the young at heart may enjoy living in the area, more youthful buyers are also keen to buy property in Umhlanga’s New Town and 37% of recent buyers were aged between 18 and 35.
I love the convenience of living here. It takes me 10 minutes to get to work in the morning and the fact that everything else, including my gym, is literally right on my doorstep has made my life so much easier.
– Samantha Cranke, resident
What is of particular interest is that sales have been consistently strong except during the worldwide economic slump and the ensuing credit crunch. In 2006 there were 453 sales, but this number dropped dramatically to 120 in 2011 before bouncing back to 566 in 2014. There were 382 sales recorded last year and, so far this year, 24 properties have been registered at the deeds office. Property in this area sells at a premium. Over the past 12 months 247 properties, priced between R800,000 and R1,5m, changed hands. The average selling price is around R1,2m.
It's fairly obvious that Gateway is a major drawcard for buyers, but there is far more to the attraction than simply having a major shopping centre on one’s doorstep. New Town has a strong commercial sector all of its own. Hip coffee shops and restaurants and high-end fashion boutiques are only a small part of the suburb, and the fact that the entire area (including the nearby La Lucia Ridge) has virtually exploded with new office parks means that commuting to work and back has become a breeze.
Things to do:
- The Umhlanga promenade
- The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board
- The Barnyard Theatre in Gateway
- The nearby Mt Edgecombe Country Club, Beachway and Zimbali Country Club
- Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve
- The Umhlanga Ponds
- Hawaan Forest
- King Shaka International Airport
- Close proximity to the N2 and M12
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.
Take a video tour of Umhlanga here: