RE/MAX Suburb Trend Report – Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal

Area history

Once a small village, Hillcrest in KwaZulu-Natal is literally situated on the crest of a hill above Durban. Bordered by the Valley of a Thousand Hills, Hillcrest is just 20 minutes away from Durban’s metropolitan area, although the region is surrounded by green pastures and farmland providing its residents with a retreat away from the hub of the city.

Founded in 1895 as a weekend getaway for those wanting to escape the much hotter city air, the village was laid out on a portion of farmland called Albina that was owned by William Gillitt, one of the area’s pioneers. During 1903 the first school was established in Hillcrest in an old wood and iron cottage, which attracted more permanent residents to the area. In 1943 the first Hillcrest Health Committee was established, by which time the population in the area was around 1135. 

After further development, Hillcrest received its Town Board status in 1971. The population in the area had grown to around 2799 by this stage. The town celebrated its centenary in 1995 and has since seen an increase of inhabitants migrating from other regions around Durban, particularly during the property boom. In the late 1990s and 2000s the area experienced a building boom that transformed it into a thriving town that now serves as a suburb of Durban. Hillcrest’s main road has been rezoned for commercial and office use and many of the vacant stands have been developed into gated communities, golf estates and retirement villages. Despite that fact that much development has occurred in the area over the years, Hillcrest has still managed to retain its country village feel making it popular among buyers looking for a less crowded, out-of-town retreat.

Area property information

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that property in Hillcrest consists of 50.69% sectional title units, 37.55% freestanding homes and 11.76% estates. He notes that the average price of a sectional title unit in the area has been fairly stable over the last 10 years, fluctuating between R938 000 and R1.262 million from 2007 up until this year. However, the average price of a freestanding home has been slightly more erratic with the price jumping from R1.128 million in 2006 to a record high of R1.892 million in 2007. Goslett says that the price dropped in 2008, going back up in 2009. He notes that from 2009 until 2012 the price saw a gradual but steady decline. However, it has seen some recovery this year with the current average freestanding home price at around R1.664 million. The current average price of a sectional title unit is around R1.227 million.

On the market for R2.990 million, this contemporary four-bedroom home is perfectly positioned in the heart of Hillcrest with easy access to amenities such as the local school, shops and freeway.

Designed for family, fun and entertainment, this warm, 400m2 family home offers two bathrooms and open plan living area that flow from indoor to outdoors. Both the living areas and the kitchen offers stack back doors to the large undercover entertainment area with a fitted braai. The massive 4 047m2 plot is easily sub-divisible and the property already features a spacious guest suite, which is adjoined to the main house, along with an open-plan two-bedroom flatlet that is completely separate and private. The flatlet has its own entrance and spacious garden for children and pets. 

According to data from Lightstone, the area has attracted buyers from all age groups. Consumers between 36 and 49 years old represent 30.08% of recent buyers, while those between 50 and 64 years old represent 27.64%. Consumers below 35 years old and those above 65 years old each represented 21.14% of recent buyers. Currently, the highest percentage of sellers are those aged above 65 (35.58%), while the largest group of existing homeowners in the area are those between the ages of 50 and 64.

Goslett says that the property market in Hillcrest performed really well between 2004 and 2008, with around 106 properties sold on average each year. He notes that although sales figures saw a decrease in 2009, the number of transactions is still relatively high with around 83 properties sold each year between 2009 and 2012.

Property price trends

Demand for property

According to Goslett approximately 39.8% homes sold in Hillcrest between July 2012 and June 2013 were those priced between R1.5 million and R3 million, making this the most popular category. Properties that fell within the R800 000 to R1.5 million category represented 38.1% of the area’s sales, while properties between R400 000 and R800 000 represented 15.7%. He notes that properties sold during this period that were priced above R3 million accounted for only 3.7% of the market, while those priced for less than R400 000 represented just 2.8%

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