Things are Improving in Umbilo

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

It appears that Umbilo, a bustling suburb in Durban, has felt the full effects of the recession and the subsequent economic fallout.

Statistics sourced by Lightstone reveal that there were 112 transfers in the area in 2011. Average prices came in at R841 000 for a full title property and R442 000 for a sectional title property.

Thus far in 2012, price averages for sales concluded reflect a drastic decline, with the average for full title property coming in at R696 000. Sectional title property has fared somewhat better and the average price paid for this type of property this year is R587 000. The statistics further reveal that when comparing the 2010 and 2011 averages, the median price paid remained stable, perhaps indicating that it is early days and that things will improve as the year progresses.

The same, unfortunately, cannot be said in terms of sales volumes, as there has been a dramatic decline in the number of properties sold in the suburb since 2006 when 304 sales were concluded. This figure decreased by almost 33 percent in 2007, with 207 property transfers concluded.

Market mix and the availability of sectional title and full title property is evenly spread, with 49.79 percent of property falling into the sectional title category, and 50.21 percent being full title property. This is further reflected in the sale stats, as 62 transfers were for full title properties and 50 transfers fell into the sectional title category.

Perhaps due to the more affordable price ranges of property in Umbilo in general, there has been a large influx of purchasers under the age of 35 years. Recent buyers aged between 18-35 years made up 35.61 percent of those who have purchased property in the neighbourhood. Stable ownership reflects that 35 percent of residents have lived in the area for longer than 11 years and 18.68 percent of those who live in Umbilo are over the age of 65.

In terms of overall sales performance, the dramatic drop in sales volumes obviously affected the amount of money invested by property purchasers. The statistics indicate that Standard Bank has held a predominant market share in terms of mortgage bonds over the last six to seven years, and loaned just under R28-million in 2011. In 2009, bond approval was at its lowest ebb, with R8.3-million approved. In 2010 however, this figure had almost doubled to just over R14-million. The encouraging news is that if this increase continues at the current rate, Umbilo could find itself back on the map in terms of overall sales volumes and investment.

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