While the economic downturn has impacted negatively on the residential development market, the 430ha Simbithi Eco-Estate development in Ballito on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast has bucked the general trend, having shown a sound increase in value of 24.3 percent per annum on average over the past five years - based on re-sales, reports Pam Golding Properties.
Launched in 2004, and comprising a total of 650 freehold and 1 200 sectional title properties, just over 500 sectional title units and 48 freehold homes have been completed to date. With a further 108 sectional title units and 72 houses currently under construction, and plans passed for an additional 123 homes, progress at Simbithi has gathered considerable momentum through the challenging trading conditions experienced over the past two years.
Says Darrell Abel, sales agent for Pam Golding Properties Ballito: "Conveniently located with easy access to the N2, Ballito shopping centre, Thompson's Bay beach and Alberlito Hospital, this upmarket development is just 25 minutes from Umhlanga's Gateway shopping centre and 40 minutes' drive from Durban.
"Much of the appeal is attributable to Simbithi being a low density, secure estate which offers families a highly desirable lifestyle. Coupled with this is the fact that the development of King Shaka International Airport and the Dube Tradeport has had a stabilising influence on the property market in Ballito. It has also increased the desirability of Simbithi for Gauteng buyers - particularly those who have decided to relocate their families here and commute to Gauteng for business as and when required. Many of these commuters are also looking at relocating their businesses to the coast."
He says with the pending opening of the airport early next year (2010), many of those employed there are considering moving to the Ballito area, further increasing the residential component of what has traditionally been a holiday town. Currently approximately five percent of buyers to date are those who travel to work in Gauteng, some 85 percent of the freehold homeowners are permanent residents, while about 80 percent of the sectional title owners are holidaymakers.
"One of the contributory factors impacting positively on Simbithi – especially during the more constrained economic conditions – has been the removal of the 'build by' date.  This has reduced pressure on sellers, with no penalties due, and has seen top end stands that had been selling for close to R1.5 million/R1.6 million trading at R2-R2.1 million, while entry level stands increased in sales price by some 10 percent."
Stands at Simbithi average at 1500sqm and are priced from R750 000, while houses range from 230 - 950sqm in size, with prices starting from R1.8 million for sectional title homes, from R3.2 million for plot and plan homes, and with completed houses selling from R3.2 million.
The estate includes an 18-hole Peter Matkovich designed golf course, R48 million clubhouse, floodlit tennis courts, six community centres, swimming pools, 7km of walking trails, indigenous forests and grasslands and 23 dams, and is home to over 200 recorded bird species.
Adds Abel: "Given the considerable investment in this estate - even during the credit crunch - and with 114 transfers during the past six months alone, the anticipated five year return on Simbithi is extremely positive for homeowners."
Issued by Gaye de Villiers

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