Burgeoning growth boosts demand

“A new business corridor has opened up along Old Main Road, which is being transformed as office blocks spring up to cater for an influx of businesses moving into the upper highway area. Over the years the leafy suburbs of Hillcrest and Kloof – with their large, lush gardens, tranquil and countrified ambience – have continued to attract a broad cross-section of home buyers, particularly as their elevated position affords a temperate climate without the humidity of Durban,” she says.

Muggeridge says significant investment is taking place in this region in regard to retirement villages, a new private hospital and Inchanga Hotel being redeveloped into a psychiatric treatment centre. In addition, a new shopping centre is planned for Assagay, on the fringes of Hillcrest, anticipated in approximately 2016. In recent years the retail sector in Hillcrest has changed significantly, firstly with Pick n Pay replacing the old Christian Village Shopping Centre, then Hillcrest Corner was launched in mid-2007. The area includes Checkers Centre and Lillies Corner, while recent additions include Mr Price Home Centre in Old Main Road – arguably one of the largest in the area. Hirsch’s Home Centre, McDonalds and the Elangeni Centre in Inanda Road, as well as the upgraded Colony Centre, adds to the shopping experience. Coupled with this a new Toyota garage opened its doors in Old Main Road in July this year (2011).

“Over the past decade housing developments have taken off in Hillcrest and Waterfall, such as Plantations, Augusta Ridge, Chacely Estate, Eagle Rock, Rob Roy retirement centre and frail care, Cotswold Down golf estate, 101 Acutts Drive, Hillcrest Retirement Village and Aintree Lane.  In controlling the rapid development in the area, the introduction of D’Moss (Durban Metropolitan Open Space System) has resulted in less land being available for the construction of homes.

“Time has definitely caught up with the upper highway area, with Old Main Road, Inanda Road, Shongweni and Hospital Roads having been upgraded to improve the traffic flow. However the need for increased investment in infrastructure ie roads, power supply and sewerage, presents a long term challenge coupled with an associated increase in rates, which will place a burden on home owners in this sought after area,” says Muggeridge.

Elevated some 650m above sea level and 30km from Durban’s beaches, the upper highway continues to attract a diverse community. “Burgeoning commercial and retail growth which includes the new hospital, development of retirement villages and housing developments, has stimulated the demand for homes as people are able to work closer to home. Ultimately this will have a positive impact on property values. Buyers drawn here are mainly aged 30-45 years with families, due to the many excellent schools in the area, spacious homes and large erven, which in Hillcrest and Kloof are a minimum of 1800sqm.

“Many young couples with children are moving into secure, gated estates, while couples whose children have left home are buying into complexes as they have no need for large properties which require maintenance, but wish to remain in the area because of the good climate, easy access to shopping centres and other attractions,” adds Muggeridge.

Residential property prices in the upper highway area vary from R700 000 for a small flat to R8 million for an executive townhouse, while houses range from approximately R1.3 million to R10 million. Muggeridge adds that there is also good value to be obtained in the Assagay and Drummond areas, with homes priced from R600 000 to R2.5 million.
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