Although property sales in the centre of Richards Bay in Northern KwaZulu-Natal are nothing to write home about, the outlying suburbs have once again proved popular among buyers. While central Richards Bay only recorded 10 sales, the bustling suburb of Veld and Vlei has had 59 transfers in the past 12 months. A total of 186 properties were sold in Meer en See during the same period.
Property price averages have continued to rise in both suburbs. Statistics released by Lightstone indicate that the average paid for a freehold property in Veld and Vlei came in at a healthy R878 000 and sectional title units averaged R490 000. The more upmarket suburb of Meer en See saw the average price of freehold property hovering around the R1.2-million mark while sectional title units were selling for approximately R648 000.
Interestingly, the statistics reveal that price averages achieved in the sectional title sector in Veld and Vlei during the first quarter of 2012 have risen to R648 000, an increase of almost R160 000. While it isn’t clear what is driving the increase, the surge in prices could well be linked to the fact that property in the suburb is more affordable than that in nearby Meer en See. Sales volumes in both suburbs increased marginally when compared to the 2010 turnover.
In terms of recent buyers in Meer en See, 37.57 percent fell into the 18 to 35 year age bracket. The majority of existing owners are between 36 and 49 years of age. Although there has been an increase in demand, the stats reflect that most people living in this suburb are not regarded as long term residents, with only 27 percent of homeowners having lived in the area for longer than 11 years. Likewise, in terms of recent sellers, only 23 percent had resided there for the same length of time.
There can be little doubt that the influx of industry has been the driving force behind sales in the various suburbs. Plagued by a drastic housing shortage in the mid 90s, the area has since exploded and large volumes of much needed development have taken place.
Like so many other industrial towns throughout South Africa, Richards Bay’s town planners have gone to great lengths to ensure that there is a healthy balance between work and play. The town boasts fantastic shopping facilities, including the Boardwalk shopping centre. The area is also well known for its sailing opportunities and the yacht harbour at the Tuzi Gazi Waterfront is the ideal spot for water enthusiasts.
The town is serviced by a number of excellent schools, including highly regarded private educational institutions. While Richards Bay may not be considered the perfect holiday destination, the fact that the town is situated close to a number of world famous game reserves has undoubtedly fuelled tourism in the area. Although overlooked by many, the area features some beautiful beaches that cater for all tastes, from the crowded to the secluded. The hub of Zululand has really come into its own and has proven that with the right planning, industry can co-exist with tourism.