Suburb trend report - Umhlanga

Private Property South Africa
Adrian Goslett

An area and property guide to the beach town of Umhlanga.

Area history

Founded in 1895 by Sir Marshall Campbell, Umhlanga is a residential, commercial and resort town situated north of Durban along the coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Since the first hotel was established in the town in 1920, followed by a shop and then lighthouse, development in the area has continued on a gradual but steady pace and today Umhlanga has transformed from a small coastal village into a bustling commercial hub.

Similar to the commercial migration from the Johannesburg city centre to Sandton, many businesses have relocated office from central Durban to Umhlanga. In 2010, the Durban International Airport was also relocated to La Mercy, which is within proximity to Umhlanga, and was reopened as King Shaka International Airport.

Umhlanga is home to the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board and a large variety of top class aamenities such as the Umhlanga Hospital, schools, restaurants, entertainment facilities and the Gateway Theatre of Shopping - the largest shopping mall in the Southern Hemisphere.

Area property information

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that the commercial development within Umhlanga has been phenomenal and has had a positive contribution towards the residential property market in the area. He notes that house prices have grown massively in the area over the past few years and investors looking to buy in Umhlanga can be assured that they will see a good return on their investment over the long term.

Figures from Lightstone, a property statistics and information provider, show that the average price of a freehold property in Umhlanga is around the R4 355 489 mark and there have been a total of 39 sales concluded in the area during 2012. Sectional title units have proved to be more popular with the total number of sales around 147, with an average value of R2 912 477. This is largely due to the fact that the current property market stock is made up of 78.23% of sectional title units and 21.77% freehold homes.

The largest percentage of recent buyers have been from the 50 to 64 year old age bracket making up 39.45% of the market, followed closely by the 36 to 49 year old demographic at 34.4%. The largest number of recent sellers has been from the 65 year old and older category.

Demand for property

According to Goslett, a trend has developed due to the lack available properties within gated estates in Umhlanga and the surrounding areas, where demand has strongly increased for property within secure developments. Many buyers are prepared to pay more for homes within a 24-hour guarded and patrolled estate. He says the constant surveillance and security patrols that are commonly found within security estates attract buyers to these developments and there is consistently a strong demand for these kinds of properties due to the lifestyle elements they offer.

The general consensus country wide is that we are experiencing a buyer’s market and factors such as low interest rates are a huge advantage for those looking to get into the market. Even so, investors should still look at the location and type of property they buy into. Steady demand for secure estates in up and coming areas such as Umhlanga, make these types of properties a good investment option for buyers along the KwaZulu-Natal north coast.

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