Long term development planned for Richards Bay harbour – which will include additional handling and berthing facilities - is expected to impact positively on the demand for housing in the area, says Phil Hammill, area principal for Pam Golding Properties.
"Such extensive development has to create a greater demand for homes, with the main demand anticipated to be in the price range from R700 000 – R850 000 for an average home. Senior managers would probably require homes in the R1.5 million price range, while line workers would possibly rent initially, depending on the length of their contracts," he says.
Meanwhile Richards Bay's waterfront area is expected to experience renewed interest, particularly as the residential property market regains momentum. "By its very nature the waterfront area is limited in terms of space for homes. In the more constrained economic trading conditions we have seen prices stabilise, and now that we are starting to see greater interest in the property market we believe there could be a fresh surge in demand for waterfront homes," says Hammill.
"Given the mixed land use development which is planned for the waterfront we see an opportunity for buy to let, residential property investors to re-enter the market, particularly as waterfront property will always command premium prices due to its prime location and strong demand. When the development goes ahead – and bearing in mind that the commercial component will also feed the demand for residential accommodation - it is highly likely that more buyers will try and capitalise on the upturn."
Hammill says currently average prices in the Richards Bay residential market in general are in the upper R800 000s, typically for a three bedroom, two bathroom home with one or two garages.
"The suburb of Meerensee, with its mix of older and newer homes, has always retained a sound resale value, with houses ranging in price from R700 000 to approximately R6.2 million and sectional title homes in complexes priced between R415 000 and R4.89 million. The older area of Arboretum in the main is less costly with houses priced between R650 000 and R1.96 million and sectional title homes ranging from R450 000 to R815 000. Birdswood, the newest of areas, is priced somewhere between the two. We recently sold a spacious four bedroom house in Birdswood with upmarket finishes, swimming pool and four garages for R3.73 million – a top price which is not often achieved.
At upmarket Mzingazi Golf Estate, where a few houses have now been built, plots of 365–1383sqm are available for sale priced from R550 000–R1.53 million. And at a new 30-unit residential development recently launched to cater for the increased demand for student accommodation resulting from the new city campus of the University of Zululand, only four of the one bedroom apartments remain available for purchase, priced from R359 000.
Adds Hammill: "Now that the interest rate has reduced we find that many sellers are holding onto their properties and reasonable stock to sell is less available, which will ultimately have the effect of starting to push up prices. While rentals are showing an increased demand, it's largely for the lower price range. Once the market shows meaningful signs of improvement, we believe our industrial demand will also see an upturn."
Issued by Gaye de Villiers

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