Interest and sales in Umhlanga Rocks on the up

Director of Seeff Umhlanga, Brett Botsis, says that the KwaZulu-Natal property market is currently offering golden opportunities for first-time buyersand investors alike.

"The prime interest rate is at an all-time low of 9%, and sellers are now prepared to negotiate on their selling prices. Correct adjustments are now taking place on the selling prices of properties and the banks' approval rate of bond applications is sitting at close to 50%. Property prices showed positive year-on-year growth in November 2011, for the first time since August, according to latest results released by bond originator Ooba, who also recorded a substantial increase in the number of home loan applications during November 2011, up by 36% on November 2010."

Botsis also says that Seeff Umhlanga is experiencing an increase in activity in their area. "Buyers are expressing positive sentiments about the property market and the opportunities it provides. In Umhlanga Rocks, a total of 237 units were sold in 2011, equating to a Rand value exceeding R630m, a 0.95% increase from 2010. In December Seeff Umhlanga's sales included a three bedroom, two bathroom, 213 m2  luxury apartment in lower La Lucia for R2.252m; a two bedroom, two bathroom, 105 m2 duplex on Marine Drive for R3.2m; a three bedroom, three bathroom, 150 m2 duplex on Lagoon Drive for R2.8m; and a large family home in La Lucia offering four bedrooms and a large entertainment area with sea views for R4.8m.

"We have a fair spread of local and inland buyers. For example, in the above four sales two were to local buyers, both upgrading to bigger properties to live in. The other two were to inland buyers from Johannesburg who purchased holiday homes, both for cash."

Botsis describes a few of the upmarket beachfront apartments on the books with Seeff Umhlanga. "We have a fully furnished, stylish sub-penthouse at The Oysters for R9.2m, a luxuriously renovated beachfront duplex with direct beach access, offering three bedrooms all en suite, for R6.5m, and a large three-bedroom apartment offering beautiful vistas and sea views over-looking La Lucia for R3.4m.

"There is constant interest in properties in Umhlanga, most of it local interest and activity with foreign making up about 5-10% of all queries. Property in Umhlanga Rocks is considered more of a ‘blue-chip' investment with returns being realised over a longer period - a hedge against inflation.

"The recovery in the property market in the area is evident from the increased activity levels and sales volumes. I think 2012 is going to be a great turnaround and take off year for Umhlanga. It is a prime area with limited properties that remain sought-after, which is a recipe for success."

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