But in reality, large numbers of upcountry buyers are also flocking to KwaZulu-Natal, predominantly to the burgeoning North Coast region. And they are not shying away from acquiring luxury and super -luxury properties at the top end of the market.
Says Neil de Beer, Pam Golding Properties area manager for Ballito: “Some 60 to 70 percent of our buyers in the upmarket Zimbali area are from Gauteng, semi-grating to the coast. The remainder are mainly those relocating from the greater Durban area to the North Coast as well as some overseas buyers, who account for less than 10 percent of the total. These are often expatriates returning to South Africa or acquiring an investment closer to home while they are based abroad, or acquiring homes for holidays in the interim and potential relocation on retirement in the future.”
De Beer says in Zimbali, although the entire estate is well sought after, position and outlook are fundamental requirements for the super-luxury homes in the price range from R10 million upwards. Beachfront homes, where vacant land is already fetching prices from R11 million to R14.5 million per site, traditionally command the most exclusive prices in the market, with fairway frontage homes and those with high elevation sea views not trailing too far behind.
Says Sascha Bausch, Pam Golding Properties area specialist in Zimbali: “With its close proximity to King Shaka International Airport and proliferation of secure lifestyle estates, the North Coast areas from uMhlanga, Umdloti and Sibaya through to Ballito and Zimbali are increasingly in demand among out of town buyers, particularly where the major breadwinner commutes to the workplace in Gauteng while the family resides within a secure estate and enjoys all the lifestyle benefits of living in this highly appealing part of KZN.
“A luxurious, furnished and beautifully appointed home in a contemporary design and with fairway frontage in Zimbali recently fetched R17 million.
“Architectural guidelines on the estate also allow for more bulk, where larger homes are built. Building costs of R20 000 plus per square metre for turnkey projects are the result of award-winning yet less economical architectural designs, high spec building materials and workmanship and the latest trend in interior designs from around the globe.”
Finishes in this high end price category include large scale double glazing, custom-made international kitchens with multi-colour coding, acrylic wrapping, Caesarstone tops, fully integrated kitchen appliances, imported finishes, home management systems for remote control, fully appointed home cinemas, water harvesting and reticulation systems, power invertors / generators and rim flow/ heated pools.
Added to these features buyers of such homes seek lifestyle oriented investment opportunities to suit their own needs, with recreational facilities such as pools, tennis and squash courts and gyms, while keen golfers look to settle among a selection of the country’s finest fairways.
Carol Reynolds and Gareth Bailey, Pam Golding Properties area principals for Durban Coastal concur with the trend towards semigration among upcountry home buyers: “In the estates we are seeing a number of Johannesburg buyers investing in our uMhlanga and Sibaya residential developments.
Says Reynolds: “The KZN coastal strip from Durban to Ballito has suddenly become the place to be. With an influx of Johannesburg clients seeking to relocate to our sub-tropical climate, this area is growing rapidly. Two years ago we were pricing developments in uMhlanga at R20 000 per square metre, now some of our developments are selling for as much as R60 000 per square metre, reflecting unprecedented growth. The ‘Signature Sibaya’ development has almost sold out with vacant land fetching prices of R10.5 million for 2 000sqm of prime land, which means the end price for the homes will range from R20 million up to R40 million depending on finishes.
“Our top end sales along the North Coast in general are achieving prices of up to around R20 million. These include homes in estates like Hawaan Forest as well as mansions near the beach and in the heart of uMhlanga Village. Clients will pay for prime positions and security, while homes with sea views in prime areas such as lower uMhlanga, lower La Lucia and upper Durban North always command high prices. We are also seeing a number of clients buying up old homes and renovating them completely, particularly in areas close to the beach, where there is no land available.”
Says Bailey: “Luxury apartments are also on the priority list for upcountry buyers, particularly beachfront units with exceptional views, quality finishes, facilities and security.”
Sandra Gordon, senior research analyst for Pam Golding Properties, reaffirms the trend towards semi-gration to the KZN North Coast.
“While the ongoing semi-gration of South Africans from the interior to the coastal provinces has been a critical factor behind the out-performance of the Western Cape housing market in recent years, it appears that soaring Cape house prices, combined with worsening congestion in the Mother City, is prompting many home buyers to consider other coastal destinations – particularly the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.”
According to the Pam Golding Residential Property Index, despite facing a range of economic and political headwinds, national house price inflation has eased only marginally – slowing from an average of 4.7% in 2016 to 4.35% during the year to date. Encouragingly, the major coastal metro housing market in Durban continued to outperform the interior metro markets in early-2017, with growth of 6.7%.
Says Gordon: “These factors have driven buyer-demand, which has in turn been accelerated by the semi-gration of Johannesburg commuters to uMhlanga and the North Coast. Umhlanga is just a seven minute drive to the airport, making it appealing to Gautengers who have opted to enjoy a coastal lifestyle. It’s also very encouraging to see that uMhlanga is attracting the attention of some of South Africa’s largest property developers for the first time in history. It has, without question, become a hotspot not only in the KZN region, but also in the country. It is as though uMhlanga has suddenly been discovered.”
Adds Bailey: “Demand for our North Coast properties is driven by our area’s convenient location, infrastructure and long-term investment potential and is being fuelled by both local buyers and upcountry investors as well as some foreign interest. The lifestyle is highly sought after with our idyllic year-round climate and excellent schools.”
“According to Lightstone research, the median price of properties has increased by 48% in uMhlanga and 32% in Ballito over the last five years. There is no doubt that the development of KZN’s most valuable land is going to yield some impressive returns over the next decade. As usual, those who have the vision and confidence to participate early in the process will reap the greatest rewards.”