RE/MAX Suburb Trend Report – Howick

Area history

Located in the uMgungundlovu District of KwaZulu-Natal province is the town of Howick. Around 88km from Durban, the town is home to the Howick Falls, which is a 100m waterfall on the Umgeni River. The waterfall was originally known as kwaNogqaza by the original Zulu inhabitants, which means ‘The place of the tall one’.

Situated in the sought-after village of Amber Valley in the beautiful Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands, this home offers two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, large, open-plan lounge and dining room, study, lovely fitted kitchen and a double garage. On the market for R2.9 million, the village has excellent facilities on offer which include two heated pools, two tennis courts, a bowling green, a croquet lawn, a huge community centre and a frail care section.  Fish for trout in one of the dams, take leisurely walks in the game area or enjoy the abundant bird life.  Feel safe to lock-up-and-go with the 24 hour manned security

The area was first discovered by travellers in 1840 when they crossed the Umgeni River moving north from Pietermaritzburg. During 1849 a Wesleyan missionary by the name of James Archbell purchased three farms above the northern bank of the Umgeni River. The original title deeds for the properties named the area as ‘The village of the Umgeni waterfall’.  By 1850 the number of travellers moving north and crossing the Umgeni River had grown substantially and it was decided by the government to establish a village at the crossing. They purchased a portion of James Archbell’s farm and in November 1850 a proclamation was printed in the Government Gazette offering buyers 36 village allotments – this was the beginning of the town. When it came time to name the town, government officials decided to name it after the Secretary of State for the Colonies in London, who had recently acquired the title of Lord Howick.

Although the area remains fundamentally a farming community, more recently Howick has seen some significant expansion with a number retirement developments having been built in the area.

Area property information

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that the development of retirement villages in the area has had an impact on the mix of consumers buying property in Howick. He notes that currently 46.18% of recent buyers in Howick are over 65 years old. This demographic also represents the highest percentage of existing homeowners (53.46%) and the recent sellers (65.85%).

According to Lightstone, property in Howick predominantly consists of sectional title units (65.76%), with the remaining property made up of freestanding (32.53%) homes and estates (1.70%). Goslett says that while the recession had an impact on the average price of freestanding homes in the area; it had little or no impact on the price of sectional title units. The average price of sectional title units remained stable during 2011 and 2012, but has seen a remarkable growth this year, climbing from R500 000 in 2004 to R1.224 million. The average price of a sectional title home in Howick now outstrips the average freestanding home price. The average price of a freestanding home dipped from R917 000 to R592 000 in 2009, but has been on a path of recovery since and is currently at around R1.006 million.

Goslett notes that unlike most other areas throughout the country, property sales transactions in Howick increased after 2007, widely regarded as the peak of the property boom. Sales peaked in 2008 and have continued to outstrip boom period figures with sectional title units outselling freestanding homes by around three to one.

Property price trends

Demand for property

According to Goslett the highest percentage of homes sold in the area between October 2012 and September 2013 were those priced between R800 000 and R1.5 million, which accounted for 50.6% of all properties sold in Howick during that period. Properties that fell within the R1.5 million and R3 million price category represented 22.4% of the area’s sales, while properties between R400 000 to R800 000 represented 22.1%. He notes that properties sold during this period for below R400 000 represented 4.6%, while those priced above R3 million accounted for 0.4% of the market.

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