Durban’s Point Waterfront to boost property sales

Announcements that long-awaited developments in the Point Waterfront area would be gaining traction in the near future are boosting property sales in the precinct and having a positive spin-off on Durban’s market generally, according to Tyson Properties chief executive, Chris Tyson.

Artist’s impression of the long-awaited development in Durban’s Point Waterfront area.

He says that in the past 18 months the group’s sales in the Point area increased by 200 percent with the broader development leading to regeneration of a district that has been too long neglected.

“It has been a catalyst for rejuvenating the area directly and adjacent regions. News that Malaysian group UEM Sunrise is keen to start developments has generated improved sales and an upbeat mood – rental demand has picked up and there is also renewed commercial interest,” says Tyson.

He says that although the Point has always represented prime location, it has been in dire need of attention for many years. The investment means the Point precinct is poised to become an integral part of Durban’s tourism offering with planned residential apartments bordering the canal and the sea.

In recent years nine mixed-use buildings have been built in the precinct and new office developments for Lion Match and Ithala are now nearing completion. Bond Square, another mixed-use development, is underway on the corner of Albert Terrace and Browns Road and will include retail and office components as well as nine loft apartments overlooking the harbour.

Cecily Deetlifs, principal of Tyson Properties Ushaka, confirmed that Tyson Properties has the sole mandate on this residential element.

“Experience reflects a mixed bag of buyers to the precinct from investors looking to buy properties to upcountry residents wanting holiday homes and Durban residents keen to move into the area,” says Deetlifs.

Earlier this year the Durban Point Development Company (DPDC) announced it was working to revitalise development in the area that had stagnated over recent years. The company is a joint venture between the eThekwini Municipality through the Durban Infrastructure Development Trust and ROC Point, an entity owned 80.4 percent by Malaysian development company UEM Sunrise and 19.6 percent by empowerment company Vulindlela Holdings.

DPDC announced in a press release the promenade will be extended to the harbour mouth and along the entrance channel to encourage public access and a vibrant public environment. It will accommodate the existing water sports clubs, Seine netters and public beach parking, without affecting Vetchies Pier. The road network will be converted into a loop system with the main access being via Mahatma Gandhi Road (formerly Point Road) and Shepstone Road.

On the cards are raising the maximum building height along the promenade to facilitate an improved cityscape with the land use proposed as a mix of residential, office, hotels, retail and entertainment facilities. The total maximum floor area of the development is proposed to be increased from 575 000m2 to 750 000m2 to facilitate a vibrant mixed-use environment, says Tyson.

“The socio-economic assessment estimated 11 000 construction jobs will be created and another 6 750 permanent positions generated once the developments are completed. Existing property prices in the Point precinct are expected to increase by 10 percent, and properties in the Durban central business district by 5 percent,” says Tyson.

“The new developments will boost the eThekwini rates base by R200 million a year, and the initiative will contribute R700m to SA’s gross domestic product.”

Tyson says it is encouraging to know the number of home loans approved by banks is now growing more swiftly than at the beginning of 2015.

“The faster growth rate follows continued increases in the number of home loan applications being submitted by prospective buyers and the continued decrease in applications being declined.

“I believe this shows the market is currently in a stable condition. We look forward to the continued growth and strength that the Point will generate for the Durban property market as whole,” he says.

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