Glenwood – The Grand Old Dame of Durban

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Glenwood in KwaZulu-Natal is one of Durban’s oldest suburbs. It comprises largely freehold properties, ranging from showy colonial mansions in the upper parts of the suburb near Howard College Campus to the more modest and affordable homes of lower Glenwood nearer the Umbilo Road border. The olde worlde charm of yesteryear is reflected in many of the houses which feature high ceilings and large family-friendly spaces. Always a popular area, the suburb continues to appeal and statistics show that the number of freehold properties sold in Glenwood has nearly doubled since 2008.

Statistics sourced from Lightstone reveal that there have still been 78 transfers in the area in the last 12 months.The highest price achieved for a property sold in that period was R5.1-million, with the property falling into the freehold sector of the market. However, the average price paid for freehold property in general came in at R1.266 -million and the sectional title average at R442 000.

Although volumes are down when compared to the period from 2004 to 2007, the encouraging news is that the number of sales in 2011 surpassed the number achieved in the last three consecutive years - and by almost 20 percent. Price averages across the board have remained fairly stable and the sectional title sector of the market has continued to gain momentum since 2010, when the average price paid for a unit came in at R399 000. Thus far in 2012, the average price paid for a sectional title property is an encouraging R540 000.

With the recent renovations to Davenport Centre and the trendy vibe of Davenport Road, regarded by many as the Florida Road of Glenwood, this ‘old lady’ is attracting many first time buyers, businessmen and young families.

Corner Cafe In Glenwood.

Its proximity to Durban’s CBD, the beaches, a selection of first class educational establishments as well as excellent medical facilities make Glenwood the ideal place to live. The facilities, coupled with the fact that many owners have lived in their properties for a relatively long time has, however, prompted a significant number of sellers to overprice their homes.

Linton White MD of Linton White, The Real Estate Knight believes that older residents can place a great deal of sentimental value on their homes and this is why it is so important for agents to accurately price council their sellers through the use of relevant stats. “Unfortunately, I believe that that most properties for sale in the area are overpriced by between 10 and 20 percent. There are a number of reasons for this, including the fact that there are still agents who will inflate the value in order to secure a mandate. The effect of the property boom on prices should also not be discounted.”

“Although there has been an increase in demand for property in Glenwood, most buyers know that it is a buyer’s market at the moment and subsequently, it is very seldom that a property is sold for the full asking price. I do, however, believe that most sales are taking place at realistic market value, due to the overpricing situation, and that buyers are more often than not willing to pay what a property is actually worth.”

The fact that the University of KwaZulu-Natal is literally on this suburb’s doorstep has, in White’s view, continued to fuel demand, particularly those who are looking for properties with an option that could generate income. Houses with granny flats and outbuildings that can be converted into accommodation are a popular choice when deciding what to buy. There are numerous investors who purchase property in the area with the view to renting to students as there is always a strong demand for ‘digs’.

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