The trendy area of Berea in KZN (made up of Windermere, Musgrave, Essenwood, Morningside and Glenwood) has often been likened to Melville in Johannesburg - and more recently - also to Braamfontein.
Not only are these areas neighboured by bustling central business districts and sought-after as student accommodation, but Melville and Berea are also home to many heritage and period styled homes that appeal to investors for restoration and renovation purposes.
While Berea holds a sentimental pull for many residents who buy and rent here, the proximity to great schooling, essential amenities, places of employment, worship and tertiary institutions add to its appeal and make it a hotspot to a variety of people.
Roger Hoaten, Seeff’s Principal at this branch, says Berea offers many rental property options ranging from large free standing and art deco homes to sectional title developments and affordable apartments.
“The monthly rental price range is vast, starting from around R4 000 per month up to R20 000 per month, but the most demand and stock shortages occur for one and two bedroom apartments in the R4 000 to R6 000 lower end of the market - in areas bordering the commercial zones of Berea and Glenwood.
Demand at the top end of the market in the R15 000 to R20 000 price range is slow, but we have recently fetched a monthly rental of R25 000 per month in Musgrave to a professional.”
Hoaten says the decline in creditworthiness is as evident here as it is in many other areas across the country and it is not uncommon for the branch to receive 20 applications or more for a rental property with a majority of applicants being turned down due to their credit scores.
“While we expect demand to continue rising, supply is expected to be constrained due to a growing household debt burden. Urban creep is keeping rental prices in Berea low and the lack of university accommodation is also creating demand from students for affordable rentals.”
With regard to sales, Hoaten concludes that Berea continues to find favour amongst buyers at both the lower and upper ends of the price spectrum.
“Seeff Berea enjoyed a record month in May, dominated by sales of homes in the upper price bracket of R3 million to R10 million.
These sales say a lot about the popularity of the Berea, which continues to offer excellent value, particularly measured against the Northern Suburbs as well as the very popular Upper Highway area.
The development of the Musgrave, Essenwood and Morningside areas continues unabated with a rash of upmarket duplex style units and uniquely designed low rise apartment blocks featuring drive up ramp access.
A new mixed use shopping centre and apartment complex is being built by prominent developers FWJK in Montpelier Road and the revitalisation of the Florida Road “high street” in Morningside continues”.