Both the North and South Coasts of KZN enjoyed a busy holiday season. But did the influx of visitors have an impact on the local property market?
Carol Reynolds, Pam Golding Properties area manager for Durban Coastal says that on the whole sale activity levels remained high in uMhlanga due to the fact that it remains a prime holiday destination. However, she notes that although sales in suburban markets such as Durban North and La Lucia were quieter during the same period, overall sales have been strong over the past 12 months thanks to the popularity of the area.
She says the demand for property within uMhlanga has increased and this has impacted positively on prices. “uMhlanga apartments are priced from R1-million and go beyond R20-million for prime penthouses on the beachfront.
“There are numerous new developments coming into the uMhlanga market with prices from R25 000 per square metre up to as high as R65 000 per square metre.”
Reynolds believes that the influx of upcountry buyers has not only increased, the trend is set to continue. “The lifestyle offering in Umhlanga and its convenience to beach, airport and business hub have turned it into the most desirable node in KZN.”
Although Ballito was bursting at the seams with revellers and there was a great amount of interest in local property offerings, very few sales actually took place over the holiday period.
Neil de Beer, Pam Golding Properties area manager in the Ballito area says that most buyers search for the best home for their specific needs, but hold off signing a sales agreement until the new year.
“There are generally two types of buyers in December”, he says. “Inland buyers in search of a holiday home and those looking to relocate to the area on a permanent basis. Those looking for a second home typically look at properties priced between R1.5-million and R15-million while buyers looking to move into the area permanent will view homes valued between R3-million to R10-million.”
He notes that there has been a definite increase in the number of up-country buyers who are investing in property in the area. “We are finding that more than 50 percent of our buyers are looking to relocate and I strongly believe that this trend will continue throughout 2016 and into 2017.
Things also heated up on the South Coast and the area remained packed with visitors throughout the holiday period. However, although the visitors thoroughly enjoyed the beaches, property sales activity traditionally happens outside of peak periods and according to Pat Symcox, owner of RE/MAX Coast and Country, things were no different this year.
“The market is no longer seasonal. Buyers browse through the web and pre-select viewings before coming down for short visits throughout the year. In fact, August to October have become busier periods as purchaser try to time the conclusion of their transactions before the December/January period.
He says that although there is a market for second homes in the area, the emphasis is slightly different in that people are buying second homes more with a view to retirement and permanent living in the short-term future than for purely leisure purposes.
The lower South Coast stretches for around 120kms from Hibberdene to Port Edward and offers excellent value for money. It's not the only benefit of living in the area.
“There is much less congestion and closer access to better beaches for a lower price than other coastal destinations, says Symcox”.
He notes that the average price of a sectional title property in Hibberdene and surrounds is R630 000 while a freehold home will cost in the region of R720 000. A sectional title beachfront unit sells on average for R800 000 and a freestanding beachfront property sells for around R1.3-million.
Property in and around Shelly Beach is slightly more expensive, which is understandable given that the area houses two of the region’s larger shopping centres and is regarded as the area’s commercial hub.
Symcox says a sectional title property in this area is priced around R1-million and a freehold home at R950 000. The average price of a beachfront sectional title unit is R950 00 and the average price of beachfront freehold property is in the region of R1.5-million.
Margate has always been a popular holiday spot and like Ballito and other areas on the coast, holidaymakers don't traditionally buy homes over the busy holiday period.
“We were pleasantly surprised by the number of visitors to Margate this year and fielded a large number of property enquires”, says Willem Erasmus, principal Acutts Margate. “It is definitely a buyer’s market down here and as such those buying a home in the area can expect to pay around R1-million for a three bedroom home without a sea view and between R950 000 and R1.1-million for a sectional title home. Beachfront properties aren't generally that much more expensive and buyers will pay on average R1.1-million for a three bedroom sectional title unit and between R1.1-million and R1.2-million for a freehold property.
He says although some sales were concluded, buyers are very aware of value and shunned what they perceived to be overpriced property. Sellers who price realistically often find that their homes sell within a few weeks whereas those who try to sell a property that's in need of maintenance for an inflated price could end up sitting with the property for years.