The South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, always a popular holiday destination for South Africans, has in the past year also attracted a lot more attention from those seeking to semigrate from SA’s big metros to smaller country and coastal towns.
This national trend has been particularly evident since the second quarter of 2020 and has driven consistently higher house price inflation in coastal areas compared to inland areas, according to the latest report from property data company Lightstone. This shows that house prices in coastal areas are currently rising at an average of 5,5% a year, compared to an average of 3,9% in inland areas.
“We actually started getting more enquiries on our web listings during April 2020 (just one month into the first lockdown), and once the provincial boundaries opened in June, we had a rush of people from other provinces coming down here to view properties,” says Jennifer Duncan, well-known Agent of Chas Everitt South Coast, which covers Hibberdene, Port Shepstone, Margate, Ramsgate, Southbroom and Uvongo.
“And to date, about 70% of those who have contacted us with a view to semigrating have actually made the trip to view and purchase homes – with the result that all well-priced properties have been selling readily since the middle of last year.”
There are a few reasons for this semigration trend, she says, including the rising number of employees and business owners who are discovering that they can work remotely, more people opting to “retire” early from corporate jobs and start their own businesses, and more families becoming disillusioned with the cold winters and high cost of living in Gauteng.
“We find that most of those relocating from inland cities and buying on the lower South Coast are between the ages of 50 and 70, so there are not a lot of young families, although we do have excellent schools here.
“For most of our buyers, it’s more about a better quality of life, given the warmer weather, the sea and the beach, more outdoor activities and really great value for money. We often have people selling their homes elsewhere for R4m, for example, and purchasing similar homes here for around R2,5m.”
However in Amanzimtoti just a little further north, there is also a very large contingent of first-time homebuyers and young families seeking apartments and townhouses, due to the current low interest rates, says local Chas Everitt principal Brad Wessels.
“We are also receiving more enquiries from people who are being relocated to KZN by their companies, and from people planning to retire. We find that those from Johannesburg usually prefer secure complexes and estates, and sales of such properties have definitely increased over the past few months.
“Another interesting trend developing now is people retiring on the South Coast specifically to be closer to their children and grandchildren who have already relocated here. It will be interesting to see how this may increase the demand in future for multi-generational properties in our local market.”