Despite the recent credit downgrade for South Africa and constrained economy, the demand for residential property in and around Durban remains strong, with well priced properties selling within a week, says Michelle Burger, area principal for Pam Golding Properties Durban.
“Buyer interest in the R2.5 million plus price band has come alive again. We recently sold a four bedroom house in Morningside for R4.2 million cash in just two weeks, and generally are seeing numerous cash sales being transacted, especially under R1 million.
“Investors are active in the market and seeking houses, flats and apartment blocks. As an example, we’re seeing interest from investors buying houses close to Durban University of Technology (DUT) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) under the R1 million mark, from those aiming to house students to cater for a huge demand for such accommodation. In a similar vein we’ve sold a 3.5 bedroom house with a granny flat for R900 000 in Umbilo, which is on the transport route for students and only about 4km from UKZN.
“Areas which are performing well in terms of demand and trading activity include Morningside and the Durban beachfront. I believe in the long term we will see even more interest in people moving to the beachfront for the lifestyle on offer and convenience of location. We’ve also noticed enquiries from Johannesburg based families wishing to relocate to Durban because of the lifestyle, with the main breadwinner commuting back a couple of times a month. This is a trend which has predominantly impacted on demand for the North Coast, and which is now spilling over to the Morningside area.”
Burger says notably, for the six month period from March to August 2017 – compared to the same period in 2016 – Pam Golding Properties’ Durban sales turnover was up by about 60% to close to R72 million. “We’ve also increased our sales team to 18 with the addition of seven more agents.
“The Durban metro market comprises numerous suburbs, including, among others the Point Waterfront, Durban CBD, Berea, Musgrave, Essenwood, Morningside, Glenwood, Bulwer, Manor Gardens, Umbilo, Glenmore, Westridge and Overport. This market is so diverse in terms of price ranges that we are able to cater for all buyer lifestyle requirements. Many people are looking to buy close to where they work and where their children attend school which are critical factors for home buyers.
“In addition, demand is high for renovated apartments in Glenwood, Morningside and Musgrave, with these apartments selling very quickly if priced right and again particularly under the R1 million mark.”
“However, we are seeing that some sellers are holding onto their asking prices while buyers are tending to dig in their heels more. It is evident that as more properties come onto the market correct pricing is imperative to avoid a home sitting on the market for too long, as generally these then end up selling for a lot less than anticipated.”
Burger says encouragingly, there are some 100 percent bonds being granted successfully in the market, but an excellent credit score is necessary for this. “If you are a first time buyer in this market ensure you do your homework on affordability and preferably have a deposit ready. It’s advisable to take the time to get yourself pre-qualified if you are unsure of your credit record and how the banks may view you, as pre-qualified buyers stand a better chance of getting their offers accepted.”
For sellers in this market Burger says a professional and experienced agent in an area can provide sound advice on how to price a home correctly. This should be backed up with a market analysis of stock currently on the market and how long it’s been on offer, how the size and condition compares with your property and Lightstone statistics on recent successful registrations in the area. Sellers should also make sure that the agent/agency has a good marketing plan in place for their property.