Durban’s Berea record city’s highest price rises

Durban’s Berea recorded the highest residential price increases last year over 2005 followed by Westville and Pinetown in the Greater Durban area, according to figures released by Prop Values this week.

Lowest year-on-year increases, in terms of average selling prices, was recorded in Umhlanga Rocks with a mere two percent rise and Durban North, which was the only other area of the six Durban areas monitored by Propvalues, that with a nine percent rise, failed to record a double digit increase.

The Berea’s average year-on-year selling prices soared by 24 percent from R755 327 in 2005 to R875 299 last year while Westville’s average prices moved up by 18 percent from R989 295 to R1 166 329 for the same period and Pinetown by 17 percent from R539 396 to R629 516.

The Upper Highway average prices improved by 14 percent from R1 086 766 to R1 243 099 and Durban North by nine percent from R1 297 778 to R1 415 702.

But while Umhlanga Rocks’ price growth may have slowed substantially the town recorded a massive 74 percent increase in the number of units sold last year over that of 2005. Pinetown’s residential market, some ways back, was the next most active with a 51 percent year-on-year unit sales increase followed by Berea with a 24 percent improvement; Durban North 15 percent while Westville and the Upper Highway areas increased with an eight percent year-on-year improvement in unit sales.

PropValues data reflects higher year-on-year increase in the average selling price of sectional title compared to conventional title in Westville, Pinetown and the Upper Highway areas, but this trend is reversed in the areas in the Berea, Durban North and Umhlanga Rocks where the conventional title price increased at a higher rate than sectional title homes in those areas.

Interestingly, PropValues figures reflect no slowing effect on price growth from the four interest rate rises last year on the Berea market. The average selling price for conventional title in the area soared by 54 percent from R1 235 345 in the first quarter to R1 903 170 to the fourth quarter while sectional title prices moved up by 14 percent form an average R507 190 to R694 856 for the same period.

Pietermaritzburg’s year-on-year price growth was equally impressive, according to figures released by the Institute of Estate Agents Pietermaritzburg and Interior Region this week. The average selling prices of houses in the capital rose by 37 percent from R591 921 in 2005 to R81 686 last year; sectional title average prices rose by 15 percent from R456 828 to R526 029 while the average selling price of land by 43 percent from R279 003 to R399 846.

Commenting on the capital’s current market state this week, Arnold Nel, chairman of the regional Institute forecast a 14 percent average price growth for this year. His bullish view is based on the degree of demand still exceeding supply; prospects of substantial new affordable development, but this is dependent on new building land being released by the council; returning civil servants from Ulundi to Pietermaritzburg and the general good health of the local economy.

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