The migration of home buyers to the areas north of Durban continues apace, says Pam Golding Properties Durban North area principal, Carol Reynolds.
“The trend of home buyers moving north ‘of the river’ is ongoing, and we are seeing an influx from other areas. The main reasons for the popularity of the Durban North and La Lucia areas are the convenience of a central location, coupled with spacious homes which offer privacy and level gardens - factors which make the location so ideally suited to family living. Everything you need is within a 10km radius, be it for work, leisure, sports, entertainment or fine dining. This region is literally positioned right in-between the airport and northern coastal strip on the one hand, and the city centre and southern beaches on the other. We even find that those who may have moved elsewhere for various reasons are now returning,” she says.
Pam Golding Properties recently sold two very exclusive properties in upper Durban North - one for close to R5 million and the other for R6 million. Says Reynolds: “Both homes sold quickly as we have an existing database of purchasers who understand the importance of being in the best area. Many of our buyers are local Durban North residents who upgrade their homes every few years, and are therefore always looking for a good proposition in a desirable area. The most desirable areas include upper Durban North where entry level homes start at around R3 million and fetch prices as high as R10 million in prestigious pockets such as Monteith Estate. The Stirling Crescent triangle is also very popular, with upmarket family homes on erven which are often large enough to accommodate a tennis court. In addition, both these areas are patrolled by security vehicles, so the crime rate has dropped and residents are reaping the benefits,” she says.
Reynolds reports that the residential property market has turned: “For the first time since the beginning of the economic decline we now have a sector of the market where there is a stock shortage and in fact under-supply. Properties in Durban North under R2.5 million are in demand, and we have a large database of buyers looking in this price range. While homes priced above R2.5 million are taking longer to sell, we are finding that the upper end of the market is showing signs of revival, and we also find that larger homes are back in vogue."
She says the Durban North market is probably one of the most stable markets in the province. Driven by solid and consistent residential turnover with 80-90 percent owner-occupancy, the area holds its own due to the fact that it is not a second-home holiday market, which alleviates the risks associated with vacancies and tenant occupancies. “This means that your investment is safe because there will continue to be sound buyer demand. The good schools in the area will always attract young families as purchasers, and with the commercial development on La Lucia Ridge, the demand from a business executive perspective has increased dramatically. As businesses continue to move their offices onto the Ridge, so are we growing our buyer database and placing them in new homes in Durban North and La Lucia,” says Reynolds.
Prices in these areas are competitive - with the average price of a four bedroom home in Durban North approximately R2.2 million. Taking the wider area into account, stretching from Umgeni Park and Riverside through to Durban North border, homes are selling for under R2 million, hence the buyer demand.
Says Reynolds; “If a property is correctly priced and given to us under sole mandate enabling us to immediately tap into our database and conduct an extensive marketing campaign, we are seeing good turnaround times of around 45 days. Pricing continues to be the key determinant of turnaround time – overpriced stock simply does not sell quickly, and when it eventually does sell, it generally sells below the original valuation because it has become ‘tainted’ in the minds of the buyers who perceive it as stale. Timing and pricing are so critical to a successful marketing plan, that if these two factors are not handled correctly and professionally, the seller runs the risk of eventually underselling his home. More and more we are finding that the first offer is the best offer, and later offers tend to drop consistently almost in proportion to the amount of time that a property has been on the market,” adds Reynolds.
Issued by Gaye de Villiers

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