The Richards Bay CBD is abuzz with buy-to-let property investors who are snapping up two bedroom apartments in the R450 000 price range, says Phil Hammill, area principal for Pam Golding Properties.
"With a monthly rental income of R3800, these apartments provide a very sound investment," says Hammill. "Since the start of 2010 we've seen a return of investor purchasers to the residential marketplace, which bodes well for the rest of the year. A new development, "979 on Pearls", comprising 44 two bedroom apartments, is about to be launched in the CBD, with units selling for R495 000 – also ideal for the investment buyer," he says.
Arboretum, an older area of Richards Bay, is also experiencing increased activity with homes priced right, and around the R800 000 mark, selling easily. For this price you'd be able to acquire a three bedroom house with a single garage and large garden.  In Meerensee, a suburb located closer to the beach, there's a great deal of interest with most buyers looking for neat, well-priced houses under R1 million, as well as up to around R1.3 million. Says Hammill: "Only tip-top properties are selling, so now's a good time to renovate bathrooms and kitchens before selling, and paint the house in neutral colours."
Mtunzini attracting home buyers
With the new King Shaka International Airport just 50 minutes' drive from Mtunzini - which is 42km from the industrial hub and port of Richards Bay and 35km from Empangeni, this village is also attracting interest among home buyers. These include Johannesburg business people looking to purchase a R2-3 million family holiday home with sea views and sound investment potential.
"Mtunzini is essentially a lifestyle village which draws a high number of Gauteng buyers as well as business executives transferred to Richards Bay and Empangeni – who choose to live in Mtunzini and commute to work each day via the N2. Once the John Ross highway is completed, the travel time will be greatly reduced," says Hammill.
"There is a huge demand for rental homes in Mtunzini, where rental prices are still lower when compared to both Richards Bay and Durban. A three to four bedroom house with a sea view is in the region of R7000-R7500 a month while one without a sea view is approximately R5500-R6000. Three bedroom flats are priced from R3000-R4000 including lights and water. We find that rentals are popular as potential buyers want to experience the village first, and are also waiting for better priced homes in a better location," he says.
At the 175ha Zini River Estate, situated on the uMlalazi River adjacent to a nature reserve, and with half the available land in the development dedicated to conservation, construction of homes is under way. This project comprises three phases, with 272 freehold stands ranging in size from 1400-8000sqm. There are some well positioned plots available for resale in the estate, priced from R680 000 to R880 000 for a 1500 square metre stand on an elevated site to R1.14 million for a double stand of approximately 4000sqm. This estate has an electronically monitored perimeter fence, guarded entrance and regular security patrols.
Iliza Bay, which is a 11ha development within the estate, has proven extremely popular with all 60 three and four bedroom cottages sold, priced for R1.3 million and R1.65 million respectively. With a clubhouse and swimming pool for use by tenants, Iliza Bay is sought after among a broad cross-section of buyers from young married couples to retirees.
Issued by Gaye de Villiers

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