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The nodes north of Durban accounted for nearly half of sales worth R12.5bn during 2017

Commercial property sales worth more than R12.5billion was sold in Durban last year, and this figure may be surpassed this year if consumer and business confidence continues to rise following the election of the country’s new president Cyril Ramaphosa.

New statistics produced by Lightstone, based on bonded transactions through the Deeds Office, reveal that of this total the commercial nodes north of Durban accounted for the most.

The figures show sales there totalled just over R5.5bn, a 44.2% chunk of total transactional activity for 2017. With 28.7% of the total sales activity, commercial nodes west of Durban saw sales reaching R3.6bn, while Durban central finished with 11.4% and Durban south with 8.4% of the pie.

So far in 2018, Lightstone says commercial property worth R573million has been sold in Durban, and can be broken up into sales in these nodes:

North Durban: R463m – 80.8%

West Durban: R78m – 13.6%

Central Durban: R32m – 5.6%

The eThekwini Municipality has contributed 48.8% of this spend this year, totalling R57m. Last year it spent R102m, accounting for 4.5% of the total.

Partnerships between public and private entities are crucial for continued urban development and economic growth, and in his 2018 Budget speech this week Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba cited eThekwini’s Bridge City hub as a successful example of this.

“I saw first-hand the transformative potential of coordinated public investment in reviving township economies through public and economic infrastructure investments and catalysing private sector investments. Let all urban development stakeholders work imaginatively to transform township economies.”

Although South Africa’s metros are home to 39% of the population, Gigaba said they accounted for half of all employment, both formal and informal, and 57% of the country’s economic output. Being the heart of the national economy, cities “hold the potential to drive our economic renewal”.

“We must take advantage of this dynamic inclusive growth.”

The government’s Integrated Urban Development Framework sets out its policy commitment to improving the productivity of South Africa’s urban areas, and achieving this would require government to “rethink approaches to South Africa’s urban development challenges, and to find new ways in which to stimulate faster and more inclusive growth”, the finance minister said.

“Let us think beyond car washes and spaza shops, important as they are, and find ways to foster productive, high value economic activity in townships that is owned and managed by township residents.”

Although the Budget was tight and tax increases have not been welcomed, property players are positive about the plans to move South Africa’s economy out of its current stagnation and increase GDP growth.

The commitment to reshape the country’s public service and cut government was also greeted as positive
news.

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