Although there may well be areas in the country where homeowners are struggling to offload their properties, this is certainly not the case for those lucky enough to own property in the small town of Howick in KwaZulu-Natal.
What is interesting to note is that while price averages may not have risen dramatically, they haven’t dropped either and have remained pretty much on an even keel since 2008.
The demand for property in the town has also steadily increased over the years and while the numbers have been consistently good, last year proved to be exceptional, with 287 transfers taking place, exceeding all other previous sales figures since 2004. There has been just over R277-million worth of property sold in the area in the last 12 months. The average price paid for a freehold property was R997 000, with the sectional title average coming in at R889 000.
Market stock is made up of 60.49 percent freehold property and 39.51 percent sectional title. The area definitely appeals to the more mature set, with 52.65 percent of local residents being over the age of 65. Likewise, in terms of recent buyers to the district, the stats reveal that 77 percent of purchasers are over the age of 50.
With the number of sales that have taken place recently, it stands to reason that 40.71 percent of owners are fairly new to the area and have lived in the neighbourhood for less than five years. This, coupled with the fact that price averages have remained stable and the property market in this particular neck of the woods has not felt the effects of the economic downturn, has undoubtedly boosted investor confidence.
If the figures are anything to go by, 2012 looks set to be another bumper year. Thus far, there have been 39 sales, with price averages reflecting R818 000 for a sectional title unit and R893 000 for freehold property. Perhaps one of the reasons that Howick has been able to weather the economic storm that has held so many other areas in its grip is that of the 287 sales concluded in the last 12 months, 163 were cash transactions.
It is fairly easy to see why Howick appeals to the older generation. Apart from the obvious benefits of living in a country environment, the area has a number of excellent retirement facilities and well-run retirement villages which incorporate frail care and nursing amenities as well as the services of a private hospital. Pietermaritzburg is a short drive away for those who crave the brighter lights of city life.