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Commercial property in KZN: North Coast

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Area boasts high-end residential properties, shopping malls, excellent schools and top businesses

A new report has identified the Durban-Umhlanga-Ballito corridor, specifically the region close to the proposed aerotropolis development around King Shaka International Airport, as the country’s fastest growing wealth market. It has achieved a 25% growth trajectory in the past decade, outstripping Joburg and Cape Town.

The AfrAsia Bank South Africa Wealth Report 2019 reflects that between 2008 and last year, Cape Town achieved an 11% growth rate and Joburg 9%. Given the Mercer Quality of Living Index 2019 has awarded Durban the title of Best Lifestyle City in South Africa for the past few consecutive years, the evidence is building that Durban is becoming the destination of choice for property investments for the wealthy.

Among criteria used for the AfrAsia Bank report were the top assets in which high-net-worth individuals are investing, with property – local and international – accounting for 28% of their assets.

The key growth areas on the North Coast include Umhlanga, Ballito and the Sibaya Coastal Precinct, across the residential, commercial and industrial portfolios.

Commercial investments have changed the coastal town of Ballito. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Balize Private Estate sales director Peter Cameron says Durban has pipped Gauteng and Cape Town to the post as the best performing node in the country as investors have shown through their property choices.

The North Coast boasts high-end residential properties, shopping malls and premium schools, while Umhlanga Ridge has become home to blue chip companies and business heavyweights.

“This is also strengthened by a high degree of accessibility – getting to and from main roads and highways is fairly easy along this coastline. Historically, Durban is simply less congested than the Cape Town and Joburg CBDs,” Cameron says.

In his Annual Residential Property Report 2018, Pam Golding Property Group chief executive Andrew Golding said vacant land in the developing mixed-use Sibaya Precinct was peaking at R6000/m².

Umhlanga’s changing skyline. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

The Africa Wealth Report 2018 also cited Durban among the top 10 wealthiest cities in Africa, falling between Cape Town and central Sandton. “As more residents cluster around the periphery of growth nodes, we are likely to see the return of neighbourhood high streets and shopping centres.

People are sacrificing space and moving closer to work and school and reducing the distance they drive for shopping. We are seeing a virtuous circle development between business growth nodes and surrounding residential areas,” Golding says.

Seeff North Coast principal Tim Johnson says Ballito is a sought-after investment destination, particularly since King Shaka International Airport opened in 2010. This prompted the Royal Shaka Property Group to acquire one of the largest privately owned stretches of coastal property in South Africa.

The area, covering 5000ha between Sheffield Beach and Blythedale and boasting 16km of coastline, has been earmarked for a R76billion residential, resort and commercial property development. The project will consist of seven development zones over the next 20 to 25 years, with phase one of the first zone – the 140ha Zululami Luxury Coastal Estate – under construction.

Developments such as the Palm Lakes Estate are driving economic growth along the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast. Picture: Supplied

Last week, the company officially launched Seaton’s first phase, The Club, with KwaZulu-Natal’s first Olympicsized indoor and outdoor arenas for show jumping and dressage. Collins Residential chief executive Murray Collins says the R10bn Seaton development spans 411ha and is in line with the recent New World Wealth study, which said developers are choosing to create small neighbourhoods within estates rather than spacing homes around a large property.

Golding says, globally and locally, mixeduse developments have emerged in line with urban development and redevelopment and the live, work and play concept.

“Umhlanga has become a sound example of successful mixed-use living, with many of the new developments incorporating retail, commercial and residential components.”

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