With direct British Airways flights to London and the return of the renowned City Surf Series event to Durban, which sees top local and international surfers pull out all the stops for international ranking points, the city is going all out to present its best credentials to the world as a prime global coastal destination.
While this has direct benefits for the tourism market, ultimately, there are spin-offs for the property market, says Michelle Burger, Pam Golding Properties area principal in Durban. “Our tourism benefits greatly from these coups and having the WSL surfing contest back in Durban is another feather in the city’s cap as not only does tourism flourish with competitors and spectators flooding the beachfront, it has brought back confidence that the city is on the map for these international contests.
“Not only that, King Shaka International Airport is embarking on major upgrades to cater for growing demand, while BA features Durban top of its 19 global ‘must-see’ holiday spots for 2019 – providing meaningful international recognition.”
According to Burger, Durban’s housing market has seen a steady increase in activity in recent months – a trend which she anticipates will continue as there is a supply of stock and serious buyers are committing to purchases, albeit on a selective basis. And according to the Pam Golding Residential Property Index, eThekwini Municipality is currently experiencing the strongest recovery in house prices.
Says Burger: “We are seeing well-priced listings selling quickly and also close to asking price, while we’ve also had a couple of sales where properties have been snapped up in one to two weeks. However, buyers are also prepared to pay a premium for secure, lock-up-and-go homes and we’ve seen a big increase in home sales in the upper price bracket on the Berea.”
Sandra Gordon, Pam Golding Properties senior research analyst, says according to Lightstone statistics, the majority of homes in Greater Durban are freehold (60.3%), with 59% of current homeowners having owned their properties for 11 or more years, indicating a stable housing market.
“However,” says Gordon, perhaps the most interesting aspect is that from November 2017 to October 2018, nearly half of recent buyers were under the age of 35 years, many of whom are likely to be first-time purchasers. A further 32% were in the age bracket from 36 to 49 years.”
In October (2018), statistics from ooba reveals that first-time buyers again accounted for over half of all their mortgages extended. Gordon says this rebound and growing presence of first-time buyers is fuelling an increasing demand for 100% bond applications. The mortgage lending environment remains competitive, with the average deposit required for first-time buyers declining to approximately 10.2% in October, also according to statistics released by ooba.
Says Burger: “This trend towards younger buyers is evident particularly in areas such as Morningside, where we’ve seen an increase in young family purchasers, drawn by its convenient central location and access to good schools and shopping facilities.
“Morningside is the perfect location – close to the CBD and beachfront, yet with a leafy suburban feel and with affordable property options for home buyers.
“In catering for younger buyers we are truly spoilt in and around Durban with very good public and private schools such as the prestigious boys’ school, Clifton, which caters for Grades R up to matric and nearby DHS Preparatory, a sought-after public school for buyers from Grade R to Grade 7, as well as DHS High School. A few minutes’ away in Musgrave are two sought-after private girls’ schools, Durban Girls College and Maris Stella, while Glenwood is home to an excellent public co-ed, pre-primary school, Glenwood Preparatory, Glenwood Boys High School and Durban Girls High School.
“With so many excellent schooling options within minutes of each other, it’s no wonder these areas remain in high demand among families with school-going children. This is and will remain a huge draw-card for people choosing where to buy and factoring in their children’s education spanning from Grade R right through to matric.”
Apart from all the excellent schooling in Durban and with a University of KwaZulu-Natal campus up the road from Glenwood, there are hospitals and shopping centres, not forgetting trendy Florida Road which has been undergoing a major rejuvenation, with many exciting new shops popping up such as Starbucks, Pizza Hut and Republic – a popular restaurant which has relocated from Durban North.
Value for money
Certain parts of Glenwood and Morningside also offer great value for money, as you can pick up a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home anywhere from R1.7 million to just under R3 million for a more upmarket residence.
In Morningside, the average sales price for an apartment is just over R1 million which would fetch a neat two-bedroom apartment, while the average house price in the area is R2.3 million for a three-bedroom home with a garden.
Burger says closer to the ocean, you can acquire a bachelor apartment on the Esplanade overlooking the Yacht Mole for just R400 000, or a few blocks away in the CBD a one-bedroom or bachelor flat for around R150 000. These areas offer some of the best rental returns for the savvy investor not averse to taking some risk.
On North Beach, the bulk of the apartments are share block, with a frontline two-bedroom apartment costing in the region of R2 million upwards. South Beach remains more affordable with a two-bedroom apartment one row back from frontline priced in the region of R650 000. Due to its accessible prices and sectional title units, South Beach is popular with investors.
Major facelift for Point Waterfront development
Neighbouring North and South Beach, the Point Waterfront development is achieving the highest selling prices with a number of sales over the R4 million bracket. Further good news for Durban is that a R35 billion waterfront facelift is under way at the Point development. This will include an extensive promenade stretching along the beachfront, a residential tower, retail mall and a hotel.
Adds Burger: “The fact that the Point Waterfront renovation, including the promenade construction, is now underway is a very positive step, which should dispel the negativity around the perception of all talk and no action, as now we can see progress moving forward.”