For family home buyers, probably the most important factor in their choice of location is proximity to good schooling. Yet, says Mohammed Amra, Pam Golding Properties area principal in Durban and Port Shepstone/Margate, some eminently suitable centrally situated suburbs with access to reputable government and private schools are sometimes overlooked.
Says Amra: “Schools impact buyers’ needs as they often opt to live in suburbs close to top schools, and those with the means are generally willing to pay premium prices in a greater school district.
“Fortunately, in Durban, there is still sound value for money to be had and as a result, we are experiencing an influx of young professionals seeking homes to buy. According to Lightstone statistics, young adult buyers (up to 35 years of age) comprised over a third of recent home buyers in Glenwood (33%), Umbilo (34%) and Morningside (36%).”
Amra says areas such as Glenwood, Umbilo, Windermere, lower Morningside and North and South Beach offer a wide range of homes to suit a variety of budgets, as well as access to good schools. These include private schools such as Maris Stella College, Clifton, Durban Girls College, Curro College, Eden College and St Henry’s Marist College, and government schools such as Gordon Road Girls School, Durban Girls High, Glenwood High, Durban High School, Ridge Park, Glenwood Preparatory School, Durban Preparatory, and Penzance, Morningside and Addington Primary Schools.
Says Amra: “In Glenwood, homes are older, solid and spacious and often only require cosmetic updates, with a mix of houses and sectional title apartments priced between R900 000 and R1.5 million, lower Morningside prices range from R1.2 million to R1.8 million and from R3.5 million to R8 million in Upper Morningside, Essenwood and Musgrave, while in Windermere homes are priced mainly between R1 million and R2.5 million. A brand new, upmarket townhouse development comprising 16 units in Lambert Road in upper Windermere, a stone’s throw from vibrant Florida Road and within walking distance of Clifton School, sees luxury four-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouses selling from R2.56 million (including VAT). Each unit has a private garden and a carport for two vehicles.
In Umbilo, entry level homes can be had between R700 000 and R1.2 million which represents very good value for multiple bedroom homes with a large erf portion, while in South Beach residential accommodation ranges from R500 000 to R900 000 and between R1 million and R2.5 million in North Beach. Both North and South Beach are popular holiday and investment areas, so naturally busier during holiday season.
“All these areas offer easy access to major highways in and out of the city. In Essenwood and Musgrave, new sectional title developments are springing up, offering security, contemporary comfort, lock-up-and-go convenience and proximity to eateries as well as shopping centres such as Musgrave Centre, The Atrium and Windermere Centre. Work from home has also created a higher demand for homes and complexes with outdoor and entertainment areas.”
Attractions for Durban residents include the buzzing nightlife of Florida Road, Suncoast Casino, Suncoast Beach, The Golden Mile, uShaka Marine World, Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban Botanic Gardens and Durban Yacht Club, to name a few.
Amra says in Westville, with its spacious, treed gardens, areas such as Berea West, Sydenham, Asherville and Sparks Estate and in Pinetown, the suburbs of New Germany, Manors, Sarnia and Farningham Ridge attract buyers drawn by schools. These include Westville Girls High, Westville Boys High, Westville Junior Primary, Westville Senior Primary, Berea West Senior Primary and Berea West Preparatory, as well as Pinetown Boys High, Thomas More College and Benjamin Pine Primary in the Pinetown area.
Adds Amra: “Children living in the catchment area of these schools and coming from feeder schools are placed first, adding to the importance of buying in the right location. Travel time and distance also plays a role. The University of KwaZulu-Natal has campuses in Pinetown and Westville, making properties with extra accommodation attractive options for home buyers and investors. Apart from Thomas More College, a private school bordering the Pinetown territory, the remaining schools – especially the Westville high schools – are more affordable government schools that offer top-class education and as a result are exceptionally popular.”
In New Germany, also home to solid, older residences which may require only cosmetic updates, prices are between R800 000 and R1.6 million, with newer apartments in complexes averaging between approximately R800 000 and R1.2 million. In Manors and Farningham Ridge, a mix of high end and entry level homes sees prices range from R1 million to R1.7 million – also mostly older homes. In Sarnia, a developed suburb with an appealing lifestyle, the price bracket between R1.5 million and R2.5 million is ideal for family buyers, while the more populated areas of Sparks Estate and Asherville, with their strong sense of community, tend to retain homeowners who never leave. About a third of properties are sectional title and while there are affordable options for young families – in the price range from R850 000 to R1.1 million, Asherville also has some high-end properties priced between R1.5 million and R3 million.
Says Amra: “A marked trend we are experiencing in the above areas is an influx of buyers who are entering the property market before settling down to marriage and a family. There is also a demand for properties which include cottages or outbuildings, for additional accommodation or extended family. For convenience, shopping malls include the Pavilion, Westwood Mall, The Spark and Pinecrest Mall, among others.”
Looking further afield, Amra adds that the lower South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal is also attracting buyers with school-going children. Areas such as Umtentweni, Shelly Beach, Uvongo and Manaba provide access to South City School, Creston College, Port Shepstone High School and Izotsha Primary School.
“Schools are an important aspect when purchasing a home, especially on the South Coast. When families move here from the big cities, they want a simpler lifestyle and that means not driving an hour to reach your child’s school. All schools here are 30 minutes from these suburbs and quite centrally located. Furthermore, the government schools have excellent programmes and teachers.
“Most people view the South Coast as mainly three areas – Hibberdene, Port Shepstone and Margate, and often don’t realise the amazing small suburbs that we have which are highly appealing for home buyers across all generations – especially families. Community-driven, Umtentweni is a quiet, beautiful suburb with lush trees crowning the streets and a lovely swimming beach. Most properties are built over double stands making their gardens a haven for family and pets. Older, freestanding houses with a farm feel range from R1.7 million to R4 million, apartments from R600 000 to R1 million, and townhouses from R1 million to R2 million.”
Amra says Shelly Beach is the central suburb of the South Coast, with schools and businesses close by and the Ski Boat beach just down the road. “There is something for everyone, from freestanding family homes to townhouses and bachelor apartments. These range from R1.5 million to R5 million for modern, freestanding houses, between R800 000 and R2.5 million for apartments, and between R900 000 and R4 million for townhouses.
“Uvongo, similar to Shelly Beach and also centrally located and close to all amenities, offers an array of different properties which are more affordable for first-time buyers than some other areas. There is a lovely swimming beach as well as a fisherman’s dream fishing pier. Here homes vary from R900 000 to R3 million for freestanding homes, R750 000 to R2.5 million for apartments and from R800 000 to R2.5 million for townhouses. Manaba is often overlooked as it’s a tiny suburb, but offers spectacular views as well as being slightly more affordable for first-time buyers, with apartments between R650 000 and R1.5 million, townhouses from R750 000 to R2 million and freestanding, older homes from R800 000 to R2.5 million.”
Concludes Amra: “Shopping centres along this coastline include Shelly Beach Centre and Southcoast Mall.”