South Coast climate attracting Cape buyers

2011-05-06 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL property interest on the South Coast appears to be picking up, with reports of sales increasing significantly since November last year.

Arthur Venter of Property Circle in Ramsgate says the South Coast experienced a bumper Easter season with people flocking to the region from all over the country.

This has partly been attributed to the hosting of the All Africa Bike Week in Margate.

An FNB House Price Index for the month of April has shown a steady decrease in coastal property prices in the last two quarters of 2010 and the first of 2011. Venter said property prices on the South Coast are still deemed to be reasonable when compared to those along the Western Cape coastline.

He said the favourable climate has recently attracted buyers who initially invested in the Cape, but were put off by the inclement weather. “As far as a reduction in property prices on the South Coast are concerned, it’s not so much a drop in price as an adjustment in pricing,” said Venter.

“Properties there have been overpriced for many years, especially during the property boom about three to four years ago. Pricing is critical: if it is not right, you won’t sell,” he added.

Distressed sellers during the recession had apparently also artificially inflated prices in line with the cash they needed at the time.

The FNB index says that in the first quarter of this year, an average of 81% of houses on the market were listed for more than three month.

Venter said the hosting of All Africa Bike Week was an indication that the South Coast is reinventing itself and attracting holidaymakers.

He said in recent years investors were largely drawn to areas like Ballito and Umdloti on the North Coast, but the extensive urbanisation of those areas has led people to cast their eyes south to the quaint towns and villages dotted along the coastline.

A recent Auction Alliance statement said prices on the Western Cape’s West Coast and KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast are still growing at an annualised 21%, while Durban recorded a drop of 10% and the North Coast a drop ofsix percent.

Venter believes that 21% growth is too ambitious, but observed that sales have improved since November 2010.

Erika Malan of Pam Golding in Amanzimtoti said she sold a R1,6 million house last week while hammering in her for sale sign. “Sales are picking up,” she agreed. — Witness Reporter.

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