Millionaire migration: KZN North Coast booms as families, affluent semigrants snap up new homes

Situated on a double plot in Hawaan Forest Estate, this spacious, luxury home is on the market for R32 million. Picture: Pam Golding Properties

Situated on a double plot in Hawaan Forest Estate, this spacious, luxury home is on the market for R32 million. Picture: Pam Golding Properties

Published Dec 4, 2023


The residential property market on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast is booming as new lifestyle developments and top-notch amenities draw buyers in from all over the country.

The province, as a whole, has emerged as one of the country’s most resilient and well-performing markets, and this is largely due to the demand for homes along the North Coast – starting from the north of Durban.

With its balmy, subtropical climate and laid-back, coastal lifestyle, Bradd Bendall, head of sales at BetterBond, says KZN has become a “very popular” place to live, particularly in Ballito and surrounds where family estates have been transformed into significant growth nodes.

Kim Peacock, broker-owner of RE/MAX Dolphin Realtors, notes that these areas, including Salt Rock, have also been earmarked for further development and work has already started on upgrading the main roadway. Located less than half an hour from King Shaka International Airport, these areas offer “tremendous access and convenience”.

“Traditionally seen mainly as holiday destinations, coastal villages like Ballito, Salt Rock, and Sheffield have become sought-after primary residences,” she says, explaining that they appeal to both holiday home buyers and purchasers of primary residences.

“This dual demand has seen house prices in these areas increase steadily year-on-year, offering existing homeowners some very positive returns on their investments.”

In addition, new primary schools and large-scale development and refurbishment of existing locations, have helped to create a vibrant and varied housing market. In recent months more than 30 percent of buyers were aged from 36 to 49, which suggests that many of them were looking for family-friendly homes. Retirees make up almost one-third of all buyers and there is growing interest from younger buyers aged 18 to 35, particularly in sectional title properties.

Citing Lightstone data, Peacock says Ballito and its surrounding areas are also home to some of South Africa’s premier lifestyle estates, with almost 45 percent of all homes here located in estates, including Zimbali, Simbithi, and Dunkirk.

This, adds Bendall, is one of the reasons why this part of KZN attracts buyers from around the country.

“Many of them semigrate from Gauteng, or even other parts of the province, to settle in one of the luxury estates along the North Coast. So great is the demand for estate living that the average price of a freehold home in one of these estates is 168 percent higher than other homes, according to Lightstone.”

Ballito’s sectional title market is performing well, with average prices increasing from R1.7 million in 2020 to just under R2m this year. Just over 60% of all homes in Ballito are sectional title properties.

“Many of these are buy-to-let properties that are used as rental units to cater for holiday visitors as well as long-lease tenants,” Bendall says.

Similarly, accessibility to schools, beaches, shopping, and other amenities, as well as proximity to King Shaka International Airport, has seen the residential property market in the areas north of Durban flourish over the past decade, states Pam Golding Properties, noting hat the agency’s sales in suburbs such as Durban North, Umhlanga, and Sibaya are buoyant. These transactions totalled approximately R104m million for October alone, a figure that excludes sales in new residential developments, says Carol Reynolds, the agency’s area principal for Durban Coastal.

“Traditionally, the months of October and November are great as people flock to our areas for the good schools and convenient lifestyle – including buyers who had moved further afield, returning to perennially popular suburbs such as Durban North, which is an ideal location to raise a family.

“Johannesburg and other Gauteng buyers often look to buy in estates because of the security, but also tend to acquire the larger mansions in the upper Durban North node.”

Interestingly, she adds, there has been a resurgence of interest in spacious, grand mansions priced in the R10m+ price bracket, many of which are located in upmarket estates in Umhlanga and Sibaya. As an example, there is interest in a R37m luxurious mansion in Signature estate in Sibaya.

Ultimately, there is “definitely an ongoing migration” of affluent home buyers to the areas north of Durban, with the Durban North market in particular, a relatively stable market that continues to attract families with school-going children.

“The homes in this area are spacious and grand with high ceilings and impressive proportions, while the gardens are level, well suited to children and an outdoor family lifestyle. We recently sold a very appealing home in Durban North to a German family who was also seeking the convenient lifestyle this area offers. The five-bedroom, five-bathroom home sold for R5.65m.”

Umhlanga also has several upmarket estates which, given their generous proportions and proximity to both schools and the beach, as well as Gateway shopping centre and hospitals, attract families. Property prices in some of the estates in the area range from R5m for an entry-level duplex to upwards of R20m.

Furthermore, Reynolds says the area is popular with a “sizeable pool of investors” who support its off-plan, sectional title residential developments.

Meanwhile, the KZN South Coast’s five Blue Flag-rated beaches and seven Blue Flag Pilot Beaches for 2023/2024, serve to augment the appeal of properties in this region, particularly by bolstering their potential for holiday letting and attracting real estate investors, says Mohammed Amra, Pam Golding Properties area principal in the Port Shepstone and Margate areas.

This international status is good news for the local residential property market, as well as the local economy.

“Although the rating may not directly impact property pricing, it certainly contributes to the overall desirability of the location.”

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