Cape Town - Much has been said about the so-called semigration of buyers – notably Gauteng buyers – to the Western Cape, but large numbers of upcountry buyers are also flocking to KwaZulu Natal, according to Neil de Beer, Pam Golding Properties area manager for Ballito.
They head predominantly to the North Coast region and are not shying away from acquiring luxury and "super luxury" properties at the top end of the market, says De Beer.
“Some 60% to 70% 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% of the total," says De Beer.
"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.”
In Zimbali super-luxury homes are in the price range from R10m upwards. Beachfront homes, where vacant land is already fetching prices from R11m to R14.5m 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.
Sascha Bausch, Pam Golding Properties area specialist in Zimbali, says a luxurious, furnished home in a contemporary design and with fairway frontage in Zimbali recently fetched R17m.
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, say a number of Johannesburg buyers are investing in uMhlanga and Sibaya residential developments.
“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/m², now some of our developments are selling for as much as R60 000/m², reflecting unprecedented growth," says Reynods.
"The ‘Signature Sibaya’ development has almost sold out with vacant land fetching prices of R10.5m for 2 000m² of prime land, which means the end price for the homes will range from R20m up to R40m depending on finishes."
Top end sales along the North Coast in general are achieving prices of up to around R20m. 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. A number of clients are buying up old homes and renovating them completely, particularly in areas close to the beach, where there is no land available.
“Luxury apartments are also on the priority list for upcountry buyers, particularly beachfront units with exceptional views, quality finishes, facilities and security,” says Bailey.
While the ongoing semigration 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, claims Sandra Gordon, senior research analyst for Pam Golding Properties.
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. The major coastal metro housing market in Durban continued to outperform the interior metro markets in early-2017, with growth of 6.7%.
Gordon says uMhlanga is just a seven minute drive to the airport, making it appealing to Gautegers who have opted to enjoy a coastal lifestyle. Umhlanga is attracting the attention of some of SA’s largest property developers.
“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,” says Bailey.
“According to Lightstone research, the median price of properties has increased by 48% in uMhlanga and 32% in Ballito over the last five years."