Friday, March 22

Umdloti: Holiday haven offers opportunity

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Investors can view the holiday letting market as a business opportunity in this town, with its many apartments, and where the population grows 10-fold for the Christmas and Easter holidays

Situated 10km north of the provincial economic hub evolving in Umhlanga, Umdloti still prides itself on being a small resort town driven by its pristine, tourist-attracting beaches.

Situated at the mouth of the Mdloti River and now forming part of the eThekwini Municipality, the town’s name derives from the Zulu word for a species of wild tobacco found growing prolifically in the region. The town’s permanent residency is relatively small, with estimates placing it around 3 000.

However, during the Christmas and Easter holidays, the numbers swell around 10-fold with the bulk of these visitors securing holiday accommodation in the myriad apartment blocks along the narrow main Beach Road hugging the promenade and beachfront.

The subsequent congestion has dogged the town for decades, but the upside is the ability for investors to look to the holiday letting market as a business opportunity. Umdloti has two commercial centres, the Umdloti Centre and the White Sands Shopping Centre, several award-winning restaurants and a post office.

There are also the typical social support systems like chemists, doctors, dentists, grocery stores and boutique shops. Chas Everitt International Property Group sales agent Kim Jardine says Umdloti represents “a holiday investment haven” along its coastline that stretches 5km from North Beach to South Beach.

The scenic beauty of Umdloti’s main beach and tidal pool draws thousands of holidaymakers annually. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

She says the town has attracted significant interest from buyers in Joburg and Cape Town, as well as international clients from Spain, the US and UK who benefit from the “potentially high returns on local holiday investments”.

Sectional title apartments and townhouses constitute around 70% of the housing stock and are the element of the market fuelling the holiday buy-to-let sector. There are a host of apartments on the market for investors seeking to enter the buy-to-let market or expand existing portfolios.

At the top end is the Umdloti Grand development under construction on Bellamont Road, where apartments range from R14.45 million to R15.95m. Along Beach Road a two-bedroom apartment measuring 106m² can be secured for R3.5m, while three-bedroom units can be purchased between R2.649m for 137m² and R6.5m for a 225m² apartment.

An older residential property measuring 1738m² came to the market earlier this month carrying an R8.5m price tag. This promises an investor the potential to develop a guest house, luxury lodge or small apartment block. In terms of commercial property, there is a warehouse available for rent.

The industrial premises consists of 2 757m² of warehousing space, including 804m² of office space, and a yard measuring 1 968m². The property has been designed for a manufacturing or distribution company.

Prime businesses include cocktail bars and restaurants

La Casa Nostra

Anchored by a KwikSpar, the White Sands shopping centre offers commercial space in its strip-mall design and is home to the award-winning La Casa Nostra Restaurant. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

A family-run Italian trattoria since 1996, the award-winning La Casa Nostra has been a firm favourite with locals and visitors seeking a touch of Italy on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast. The name means “our home”, and the owners take pride in ensuring patrons walk away after an idyllic home dining experience. 

SandBar Restaurant and Cocktails

The popular SandBar is under renovation. Its neighbour Tasca Pizza offers a relaxed meal. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

The brainchild of four Umdloti residents, the SandBar concept evolved after its founders had savoured cocktails on the beach on a sunny December day. Those musings brought to the market a space in which patrons can enjoy honest food, great wines and colourful cocktails while watching the waves roll on to the sand.

Umdloti Coastal Accommodation

Started in 2003 with bookings taken through bed and breakfast establishments, Umdloti Coastal Accommodation slowly acquired its own properties as stock to offer holiday makers affordable property rentals when visiting the tourism town. The company strives to provide sound service and communication while retaining competitive rental rates.

Farm to Fork Deli and Butchery

This specialist butchery and deli offers patrons a range of fresh meat, fish and seafood products, incorporating local organic and free-range options where possible and feasible. The owners proudly adhere to the concept of integrating the food production, processing, distribution and consumption to enhance environmental, economic, social and nutritional health.

Advantages of investment

Holiday letting market

Myriad apartments located along the town’s main Beach Road offer investors opportunities to build their holiday letting portfolios. The current presence of estate agents’ signboards advertising properties for sale reflect the opportunity within this market.

Tourism-related opportunities

Umdloti’s economy is driven by tourism and there are significant commercial opportunities within the sector. These include property development, restaurants, franchised eateries, fishing and charter tours and nature activities.

Close proximity

The town’s proximity to Umhlanga Rocks pits Umdloti as an ideal extension to the north coast economic hub, but without the crowding. As land use shifts from the traditional sugar cane farming to commercial and residential, Umdloti has the potential for greater economic growth and development. Access to upper-income consumers The north coast is credited with attracting high-income, high networth individuals, consumers and investors. This means establishing commercial enterprises within Umdloti offers access to wealthy customers able to support new and expanding businesses and concept.

Land available for development

While not in huge supply, there are still prime spaces of land available for development. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

There are smaller parcels of land available along the principal Beach Road fronting the Indian Ocean as well as older residential beach cottages where the owners have not yet succumbed to the temptations of property developers. Land is also being made available for development as land use shifts from sugar cane to commercial. There is a significant tract of land being developed with frontage on to the N2.  

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