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Development drives huge housing demand in Umhlanga

Eight months a year of summer weather, great beaches and a laid-back atmosphere has ensured Umhlanga’s standing as one of SA’s best and most popular holiday destinations – but it is now also much more than that.


 
Thanks to the colossal developments that have taken place all around the town in the past few years, such as the Umhlanga Ridge business node, the Gateway shopping precinct, the New Town Centre and, of course, the King Shaka International airport, the area has become home to thousands of new permanent residents, and its property market has blossomed in response.
 
“As for the original ‘village’, it now offers an exceptional beachfront, with a 5km promenade, a cosmopolitan atmosphere and many pavement cafés, say Dean Syren and Nicci Francis, area specialists for Sotheby’s International Realty.
 
“And because it contains a large selection of apartments, townhouse complexes and free-standing homes, it is popular with professional couples, business people and retirees seeking a relaxed lifestyle in a seaside location that is also convenient to offices, shops, medical facilities and entertainment venues.”
 
However, Umhlanga proper is generally not for first-time buyers, they say. Apartment prices start from around R2m for a two-bedroom unit and R3,2m for three bedrooms, while luxury units on the beachfront sell for R5,5m and more, and penthouses start at around R10m.
 
Older freehold properties in the area are priced at around R4m and modern, luxury homes on the beachfront start at around R13m. “And yet demand is high and there is a shortage of stock in all categories that is starting to drive prices up even more.”
 
For younger buyers in search of more affordable options, there is ongoing development in the nearby Gateway and Izinga areas, says Sotheby’s International Realty area specialist Terri Greef, where there is still a considerable amount of vacant land. “But even here, demand is such that developers who bring units to market at less than R1,5m are selling out their new sectional title or cluster complexes at launch.
 
“Meanwhile older homes towards Durban North and Glenashley are also selling well especially if they are in good condition, close to schools and on level stands. Anything priced at less than R2,5m is very sought-after.”
 
The whole area, the agents note, has also become attractive to investment buyers, because rental demand is very high, and because values have increased by between 10 and 20% over the past two years in most parts of greater Umhlanga, and especially in Gateway.

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