Durban, the second-largest city in South Africa with the largest seaport is in the midst of a massive upgrade programme.
The five-year plan will incorporate a giant theme and water park, a revamp of the cruise terminal and the transformation of all the main beaches into Miami-style tourist hubs. Sporting tourism and the construction of the sports academy is a major focus.
Since the initial upgrading of the promenade, the city has been transformed into a family and tourist destination. Construction continues along the beachfront, northwards from Blue Lagoon to Country Club Beach Resort. New parking areas, landscaping and dune rehabilitation, kiosks, restaurants and new paddling pools are all part of the plan.
All this bodes well for the property market says Jawitz Properties Durban franchise Principal Amod Osman.
Residential prices are now on the rise after a somewhat lackluster couple of years. The year-on-year statistics point to an 8.8% increase
Out of a population of four million the residential market is split between 70% of those preferring to live closer to work, 20% holiday makers and 10% retirees looking for a home on the beachfront. This year alone, the demand for holiday apartments has increased by 25%, fuelled by up-country buyers wanting a seaside lifestyle with clean and safe beaches and fun things to do with the family.
Prospective buyers are spoilt for choice, depending on their income. North Beach is considered up-market with three bedroom apartments in the R2.5m range. “The record so far this year was taken by a R4m, four bedroomed home with a swimming pool and beautiful sea views. It must be remembered, however, that buyers tend to commit to a sale once they are comfortable that the price is market related and they see value in their purchase,” says Osman.
South Beach offers good value mainly because of its proximity to Ushaka Marine World where prices are affordable. The average apartment with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and safe parking starts at R650 000. The Esplanade and mid South Beach have some excellent properties in the lower to middle bracket.
Being a holiday destination, it is no surprise that the rental market has increased 10% year-on-year. At the lower end, a one bedroom flat costs R4500 per month, whereas a three to four bedroom apartment could range between R8000 and R10 000. A block of flats, the Tafta on South Beach, has beautiful views and deals exclusively for the elderly.
“Despite all the fluctuations on the economic front, the intrinsic value of homeownership is inherent in us all and in the long-term, property will remain in demand as a sought-after asset in any portfolio,” he says.