Reporter: Durban offers beautiful green environments, long stretching beaches with an amazing world class surf. And it brings the heat every single time. What makes this place such an amazing place to settle down and build a home?
Simon Bray: It's a beautiful part of the world. Our head offices are just on the ridge in Umhlanga. It's a neighbourhood that's very near and dear to my heart - a beautiful place to live. The lifestyle opportunities are endless. Everyone thinks of the beach and the stereotype is 100% true. You get a nice surf in before work in the morning. You've got lovely long walks in the beach in the afternoons. It's a great place from that perspective. But I think what's really interesting, and what I love about this Neighbourhoods project that we've been doing around the country, is showing people another side of the property market. Umhlanga, for years, has being the stereotypical holiday town, but it's so much more than hotels and two weeks away at the beach in a year. It's actually the third biggest property market in South Africa, after only Sandton and the Atlantic Seaboard. We have huge amount of property market value on the market in Umhlanga, which is quite exciting.
When we talk about Umhlanga, which areas does it include?
It's not just Umhlanga Rocks down on the village there where you've got the cafes and a couple of hotels. But it extends up to Gateway, the big regional mall at the top of the hill. What's really exciting is the growth in the commercial sector that's happened over the last 10 years. You've got La Lucia Ridge, the office parks both on Ridgeside and La Lucia. That's where all the blue chip corporates are placing offices. A lot of offices that may have been in Durban CBD up until now are all moving out there. There's this great new CBD that's starting in Umhlanga.
Who will we find living there? What kind of person would fit into Umhlanga?
It's very much driven by the corporate offices that are around town. You've got a lot of executives, you've got a lot of attorneys, you've got a lot of people that want to live close to their work. Durban people don't like to drive more than 10 - 15 minutes anyway. So, the closer you can live, the better. It is quite an affluent area. The average house price in Umhlanga now is R6.5 million, which I think would surprise a lot of people in terms of how expensive homes are in the area. That just talks to how close and convenient everything is. You really do want to live on the doorstep of your work.
Do you live in Umhlanga?
I actually live in the next town over, which is Umdloti - which is the new Umhlanga.
Let's talk about the property market here, is it better to be buying or renting?
It’s an interesting market. There are a lot of apartments, a lot of flats. They are all relatively good value, so a two-bedroom flat is going to cost about R3 million. It's worth getting into the market because it’s an exclusive neighbourhood. It's only going to go north in terms of value. But in terms of renting, it’s still fairly affordable. R15000 to R18000 is going to get you a lovely apartment in Umhlanga Rocks. And then you're going to have access to all of the lifestyle and all of the convenience that Umhlanga offers. So, a great option if you are looking to rent.
What is the Simon Bray tip of the day?
Umhlanga is a great example of how you can have a stereotype about a suburb or an area, and it might not be the right stereotype. So investigate your local property markets, and make sure you know exactly what that market has to offer.