Situated on the periphery and considered a ‘bedroom’ suburb of Durban, Amanzimtoti has experienced a steady increase in residential property sales since 2009.
These purchasers are across all sectors, says Tony Penfold, Pam Golding Properties area principal, who says the relative affordability of homes in Toti is undoubtedly a contributing factor towards the area’s growing appeal – particularly for those who commute to the workplace in Durban central or nearby industrial areas such as Prospecton, Mobeni and Jacobs, hence the moniker as a ‘bedroom’ suburb.
Penfold says an entry level, two-bedroom apartment of about 80sqm with a single parking can be secured from R850 000, or a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house or townhouse of about 180sqm on an erf of approximately 900sqm can be had from just R1.2 million. Athlone Park has some huge homes for sale in the R5 million to R7 million price band, where the demand is largely driven by owners of homes in the Isipingo and Chatsworth areas who are selling to move closer to the better schooling, commercial and medical infrastructure. As they are generally speaking in the best positions with convenient links, the areas of Athlone Park, Toti Berea and Doonside seem to be the most in demand across all price segments. Most of the frontline in Amanzimtoti proper is dominated by blocks of flats.
“Here in Toti we have much easier access to Durban and all these nearby industrial areas than the North Coast. The relocation of the airport from Toti to the North Coast has had the ripple effect of transferring a lot of the traffic load and congestion so our access to and from the central areas is far easier. As a result, Toti, which is to the south of Durban, is far more relaxed, less commercialised and less developed than the north. This is a friendly community where people tend to take the time to get to know and look out for their neighbours.” It is interesting to compare the two suburbs of Toti and uMhlanga – one to the south and the other to the north and each on the outskirts of Durban.
There are both similarities and marked differences. Homes in both suburbs are predominantly sectional title, comprising 69% of housing stock, although uMhlanga is the larger with about 13 841 and Toti 6 122 units. (Source Lightstone statistics)
However, homes in Toti are considerably more affordable. Both freehold and sectional title prices in uMhlanga are significantly higher than median prices for both property types in Toti. uMhlanga property prices have accelerated strongly in recent years, presumably indicative of the positive impact of increased levels of development activity along the KZN North Coast, says Sandra Gordon, Pam Golding Properties senior research analyst.
In addition, in terms of activity, while uMhlanga registered far higher levels of activity, its sales have slowed in recent years, while Toti has experienced the converse.
Adds Gordon: “In Toti 46% of existing homeowners have owned their homes for 11 or more years, while in uMhlanga that metric is 38% - an unusually low percentage which possibly reflects the large number of new developments coming to market in recent years. Or perhaps it is partly due to the fact that many buyers are first-time homeowners who use their apartments in uMhlanga as their first step on the property ladder.
“Current homeowners have similar age profiles in Toti and uMhlanga with the majority of ‘stable’ homeowners mature or middle-aged. To the extent that there is a difference, homeowners in Toti are slightly older – which may reflect the area’s appeal as a retirement location or second home or holiday destination.”
Penfold points out that Toti has appeal for home buyers across all sectors of the market. The demand for homes at present is mainly from buyers in the 30s to 40s with young families, while sellers tend to be around 50 plus, empty-nesters, either downscaling or relocating into more secure housing options. There is certainly an increasing demand for compact, lock-up-and-go sectional title units in secure complexes. “Renowned for its beaches, meandering river and extensive ocean activities, as well as affordable properties, Toti offers the younger set a healthy and enviable lifestyle in a sought-after environment. We often also receive enquiries from holidaymakers who plan to relocate here from elsewhere in KZN or other provinces.
“Although this is one of the earlier, established areas of Durban metro, much of the suburb is modern yet set in lush surroundings, most of which is in sight and walking distance of the sea. An interesting trend is for some homes being demolished to make way for brand new, contemporary homes, as well as refurbishment of existing homes. This is particularly evident along the beachfront fringes in Athlone Park.” With both state and private schools, hospitals, extensive sports and recreational facilities such as the Hutchinson Park complex and Amanzimtoti Country Club - with an 18-hole golf course plus a driving range, retail and entertainment is on hand at Galleria Shopping Centre, Arbour Mall and Toti Mall.
Penfold adds: “The Galleria Mall and Arbour Town centres were the latest additions to our retail sector and have transformed the area, which has become decentralised. The N2 freeway from Durban to the old Transkei onwards is being upgraded and converted to a toll road which will change traffic patterns further. In addition, there is a new industrial park planned for the southern part of Toti – Illovo, which will match Prospecton in size and house a number of motor manufacturers and related parts suppliers. The redevelopment of the old airport, together with the extension of Durban Harbour to the south, is also on the drawing board.”