Beach washaways fail to douse developers interest in Ballito
News > news - 10 Aug 2007
BALLITO (August 08) - Storm damage inflicted on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast earlier this year has done nothing to douse the enthusiasm of property developers.

Although the property market in Ballito experienced a temporary setback when severe storms lashed the area during autumn, the long-term prospects for the whole stretch of coast are excellent, says Barney Fleiser, MD of Chas Everitt International in KZN.

“We see encouraging signs from property investors while developers from as far afield as Johannesburg are shopping around for development land here. The demand for such land is high and developers are willing to offer a premium to entice landowners to the negotiating table.”

He says developers are contemplating new units across the full spectrum of residential property, from sectional through to full title and fractional ownership.

The vigorousness of the hunt for new development land is also confirmed by John Pechey of RE/MAX Dophin and Ida Du Plooy of Homenet Ballito. Pechey, whose 53 sales staff operating out of six officers posted a best ever monthly sales figures of R335 million in July, notes that the quest for land is now being driven by far more purposeful developers. Many are from Johannesburg with interest shifting inland and concentrating, in spite of high prices being sought, on farmland.

But, the pursuit is not just for residential use. With the rapid growth in development and no let up in sight the building focus, according to Pechey, is on retail and commercial usages and even mini factories. The diversity of usage is also concentrating on the less desirable attractive spaces such as that close to or next to freeways.

Du Plooy also confirms the intensity of developer demand, which both she and Pechey liken to the pre-boom normal market conditions. Interestingly, similar single-mindedness is also being applied by investors in new residential developments. Once again a symptom of a more customary market.

Fleiser says the top end of the residential market has slowed down slightly, in step with markets elsewhere in the country, “but we accept that as part of the normal property cycle and expect demand to pick up in future.

“Meanwhile, there is currently great demand in the price range from R1m to R2m and it is this market that promises quick sales for developers. Local residents as well as holiday buyers are vying for units in this segment. Pechey notes that British based young expatriates also remain enthusiastic in this market, but in the lower price reaches. Such buyers recently accounted for 15 units in a 35 unit development.

Fleiser says lifestyle estates have also retained their popularity, he says. “Technology is making it possible for professionals to settle in these estates without having to commute every day, and some developments also provide good schooling.

“We are aware of one resident in such an estate, for example, who actually owns a plumbing business in the UK and manages the whole operation from here.”
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