International News

North Durban increasingly considered the place to be

The North Durban strip spanning from Durban North to La Lucia, uMhlanga and Umdloti is without question one of the most highly sought-after areas in KwaZulu-Natal, and indeed the country.

Pam Golding Properties research team has recently noted the hive of activity in this area, and indeed, cites this sector of the KZN coastline as one of the fastest growing areas in the country. With the recent release of land in the Sibaya precinct in this northern development corridor outside Durban, the area is abuzz with local and international investors, developers and end-users all wanting a price of the action.

“One of the reasons this coastal belt is expanding at such a pace is because of the multitude of mini-metros along the coast,” says Carol Reynolds, Pam Golding Properties area principal, Durban Coastal. “For example, one can choose to live work and play in Durban North. Similarly, La Lucia is a self-sufficient hub with everything from commercial to retail to residential. Then of course, uMhlanga is fast becoming the ‘Sandton’ of KZN as commercial players flock to the area, supported by a strong residential and development market. Finally, further along the coast to Umdloti, the promise of Sibaya has created a tremendous amount of hype and the vision is for this area to be a vibrant mix of commercial, retail and residential – resulting in convenient living par excellence.”

The lifestyle offering in each of these mini-metros is extremely enticing, given the balmy climate, beautiful beaches and renowned shopping centres and restaurants. “Durban North is perhaps the most family driven market along this stretch because of its excellent schools – with over 10 schools within a five kilometre radius parents are hard-pressed to live anywhere else. The average family home in Durban North will cost around R3.2 million and the very upmarket areas fetch prices of over R10 million. We recently sold a palatial mansion in Upper Durban North for over R13 million. The LSM (living standards measure) for the area is 10 and 95 percent of properties are freehold homes on lovely level gardens. This is the ideal suburb for young families, and so we find many of our clients only leave the area once their children have completed their schooling. People who live in Durban North tend to stay in Durban North because it is the most conveniently situated area along the coast.”

Just slightly north, La Lucia is again a highly sought-after area, but a newer suburb than Durban North with a more modern feel. And so, while Durban North is home to very few estates and has a colonial feel with old, solid homes, La Lucia has more modern, contemporary architecture and a mix of estates (12 percent), sectional title (47 percent) and freehold (41 percent). Currently the average selling price for freestanding homes in the area is R3.6 million and an average sectional title unit will cost R2.8 million.

Reynolds says uMhlanga is an even more diverse area, hotting up with mixed use areas, commercial and retail hubs, traditional suburban pockets and a beachfront filled with apartment blocks and five star hotels. “New Town, which is the Gateway area, has become a highly popular retail centre. Here the mixed-use concept has been implemented, enticing numerous young buyers who work in the area to enter the residential property market. Gateway comprises 96 percent sectional title, with the average selling price of an apartment in Gateway R900 000. Rental returns are good – a unit with two bedrooms that costs around R1 million will lease for between R6 000 and R 7 000 per month. Fort-four percent of buyers in the area are between 18 and 35 years, indicating that this urban lifestyle suits young executives.”

Umhlanga Rocks, which consists of the beachfront, Lower Umhlanga and the Village area is perhaps the most sought-after node in the area. Seventy-eight percent of this area is under sectional title, with 22 percent freehold, while most of the freehold homes sit in the Lower uMhlanga strip along the beach and in central Umhlanga. Apartment living spans the entire area and attracts a wide range of buyers from investors and those seeking second homes, to retirees and executives. The average selling price for a sectional title unit in the area is R2.8 million, however sea-facing apartments fetch over R10 million depending on location, size and finishes. “The average selling price for freestanding homes is R5.8 million, which indicates that uMhlanga is one of the most popular and therefore most expensive areas in KZN,” says Reynolds.

“Estates are being developed all over the area, with the growing demand for security, with prices of homes in these estates start from R4 million and exceeding R10 million. At present we are busy with feasibility studies on four new estates soon to be launched in the area. Demand is high and developers are seizing the opportunity.

“We are experiencing very exciting times in KZN with all the development and growth in this northern corridor. It seems with the new airport, commuters are flocking to the area because of its lifestyle offering and KZN is set to become Cape Town’s warmer, sunnier rival.”