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Sapphire Coast offers sharp investments

Property investors with a sharp eye for good opportunities stand to benefit from sound investments on KZN's Sapphire Coast in anticipation of rocketing housing demand when construction of the multi-billion rand dug-out harbour gets under way.
 
The first development phase of the harbour, to be constructed on the site of the old airport between Amanzimtoti and Durban, is expected to commence within the next two years and, says Michelle Dunnett, owner of the Harcourts Sapphire Coast estate agency in Amanzimtoti, rental demand along the coast is set to explode.


 
"The start of construction will bring the first wave of demand, which will likely be sustained over the medium to long-term when the facility is commissioned and an influx of permanent employees at the harbour and related industries start looking for accommodation before they commit to buying homes of their own."
 
Amanzimtoti in particular stands to benefit, she says, because of its proximity and easy access to the planned harbour. Sharp-eyed investors now have an excellent window of opportunity because in spite of growing demand for local properties and a livelier rental market, prices are still very reasonable, she says.
 
"Although demand has increased, thus far prices have not risen significantly because local buyers are still faced with challenges to obtain finance, a fact that sellers who want quick sales appreciate. The situation is very likely to change, however, when construction of the harbour starts and demand increases exponentially. Scarcity of land for further development is another factor that will support higher prices as we are likely to see a much bigger pool of buyers vying for existing properties."
 
She adds that the rental market is already buoyant, with three-bedroom family homes in the R1m price range finding tenants within a day or two at rentals of around R8000 per month.
 
Equally, demand among buyers has strengthened in the past few months. Dunnett says her agency recently sold five properties with a combined value of about R6,4m within five days.
 
Several guesthouses and bed-and-breakfast establishments suitable for holidaymakers as well as professionals on contract at the harbour are currently on the market at prices ranging from around R3m to R16m, while the Bella Vista Hotel on the main road is on the market at R25m.
 
The hotel, set in large grounds, offers 32 rooms and great sea views. Dunnett says the hotel needs some refurbishment but offers a great investment opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to cash in on future accommodation demand.
 
Current house prices in Amanzimtoti range between R475 000 for two-bedroom townhouses in less popular areas and about R9m for top homes with sea views. Properties in the lower and middle price ranges are currently hot sellers, with R670 000 being the average price of the properties sold by the agency in the past 12 months.


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