Over the years the upmarket suburb of Umhlanga on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast has experienced unprecedented, explosive growth, with notable factors being the migration from the city of major corporate and professional offices, as well as the opening of the new King Shaka International Airport and Dube Tradeport and the concomitant surrounding infrastructure.
"The appealing, relaxed lifestyle which Umhlanga offers, coupled with good security afforded by the UIP (Umhlanga Improvement Precinct) and other initiatives are further contributors to this trend. From a residential property perspective the preference is for upmarket gated homes in Umhlanga village as well as Umhlanga Ridge or 'The Ridge' as it is referred to locally. As a result, Umhlanga is seeing a severe stock shortage across the board as the area approaches its very busy holiday season," says Elwyn Schenk, Pam Golding Properties area principal in Umhlanga and Umdloti.
"Lock up and go apartments are also sought after, while downsizing to smaller units to cater for changing family dynamics and/or for cost reasons is also common. Generally the price range of three bedroom, two bathroom gated units is from R3 million-R5 million, while 120 square metre, three bedroom, two bathroom apartments such as those in the brand new, well positioned Beacon Rock development can be had for under R3 million."
Schenk says given the paucity of new apartment developments following the financial crisis, there is a pent-up demand for quality rentals. "Stock is tight and rentals for small two bedroom apartments at Gateway start at R8,500 per month. At Beacon Rock we are achieving record rentals around R15 000 for a two bed, 110-115m2apartment, while furnished units range from R18,000 to R25,000.
He says in nearby Umdloti, just further north, rentals are somewhat more modest, being approximately R12,000 per month for a three bedroom apartment, while an equivalent unit in Umhlanga would fetch between R18,000 to R25,000.
Says Schenk: "We find that the majority of our rental requests are for apartments, however, corporates sometimes seek freestanding homes at rentals up to R30 000 per month.
"At the highly successful Beacon Rock we have a waiting list of clients, many of whom are young professionals or singles, seeking apartments to rent. This presents good opportunities for buy to let investors, with rental yields (net of levies and rates) in excess of five percent being achieved in Beacon Rock for long lets. Of our Beacon Rock phase one sales, 60 percent of the units have been acquired by buy to let investors, and currently we only have a few units still available in this phase."