Durban North's residential sector dates back to 1950, to a time when grand family homes boasting timeless Dutch and Victorian architectural designs were being built throughout the suburb. These were then steadily interspersed by more modern homes until the suburb became an amalgamation of both old and new worlds - a balance which it retains today.
"And with its proximity to top schools, Durban North is a highly sought-after residential choice for families, but now there is another trend taking hold to change the suburb once again," says Greg Harris, owner of the local Chas Everitt International franchise.
"Many of the larger homes, once owned by wealthy families, are now being converted into guest houses and bed & breakfast accommodation (B&Bs) by business-minded locals who see promising tourist potential in the suburb.
And this trend looks set to grow as Durban North has widespread appeal among domestic tourists and business visitors who are increasingly booking accommodation in these types of properties.
Harris explains that the guest house and B&B sectors in the suburb are fueled by those who want comfortable accommodation with a homely atmosphere that is affordable, secure and strategically positioned close to key arterial routes and places of interest.
"Besides offering a home away from home, guest houses and B&Bs here are attractive options for business tourists because Durban North is close to a number of commercial precincts and commercial hubs such as La Lucia Office Park, Ridgeside Office Park (uMhlanga) and Simbithi Office Park (Ballito).
"Adding to this convenience, the King Shaka International Airport is only 25,8km away or a 22-minute drive via the N2, allowing for an easy commute into and out of the suburb."
Domestic tourists, he adds, are opting for this type of accommodation because it is much more affordable than hotels, while still placing them close to attractions such as Virginia Beach and Japanese Gardens, as well as other gems along the North Coast including the KZN Sharks' Board, Sugar Rush Park and the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve.
"Location, affordability, attractions and convenience will be the driving force behind the growth of guest houses and B&Bs in Durban North, and we expect more homes to be converted into such sought-after accommodation for business trips and holiday getaways."
Harris advises that if you're currently looking for a property for guest house or B&B purposes, it is important to first research the topic and get a good understanding of what you're getting into.
"You can either buy an existing guest house or B&B, in which case it is advisable to double-check the zoning permissions to make sure it is operating legally, or you can buy a property that hasn't been zoned as yet and take the necessary steps to apply for zoning permission through the local municipality."