Intaba Ridge Private Game Estate, situated only 5km from Pietermaritzburg Oribi Airport, is becoming one of the KwaZulu-Natal capital city’s most desirable residential locations, says Barbara Becker, Pam Golding Properties area principal covering the Pietermaritzburg and KZN Midlands areas.
“Apart from its convenient and accessible position, with top schools such as Maritzburg College, St Charles, Epworth and St John’s all within easy reach, living in a secure, gated estate with free roaming game, walking and mountain biking trails, plus a clubhouse right on your doorstep, presents a highly appealing lifestyle for home buyers,” she says.
The demand for secure estate living at Intaba Ridge mirrors a trend occurring around the country. A recent survey by Lightstone reveals that the majority of properties in gated communities are located in security estates, identifying about 275 000 such properties nationally.
The report says that this evolution grew at an average annual rate of almost 30 percent starting at about 5 500 units in 2000 and peaking at about 28 000 units in 2007 before dropping to 6 900 units in 2009 and reaching a minimum of about 6 200 units in 2010 and 2011. Lightstone also says that since the crash, house price inflation in estates has stabilised and returned to pre-housing boom levels of about 7.5 percent per annum, and appears to be on the increase.
Becker says at Intaba Ridge sales momentum has picked up considerably. “While the estate comprises a total of 160 sites, there are 100 stands in the first phase, of which 48 have been sold. The sale of 16 stands was concluded over the past 12-15 months, with six of these being re-sales. Prior to this, in 2011 and 2012, only one or two sites sold per year, which was indicative of the slow-down in the property market.”
The stands are about 2 500sqm in size, and to date approximately 20 homes have been completed on the estate, as well as the gatehouse, swimming pool, gazebo/braai area with kitchen area and ablution facilities, watering hole, boma and children’s play area. The tennis court is currently under construction while a further 10 house plans have been approved for construction by the estate design review committee. Furthermore, in 2012 the management of Intaba Ridge completed the upgrade of a three kilometre section of Bisley Road, thereby improving access to the estate.
Says Brendan Falkson, director of Intaba Ridge Game Estate: “With general sentiment in the residential property market having increased and with buyer confidence having returned, we are seeing renewed interest in estate living, particularly such as Intaba Ridge Estate, to the extent that unique visitors on the website has increased by 500 percent from 2012.“
He says buyers today are prepared to pay a premium for a secure environment where children are safe to play in the streets or they can walk to meet friends at communal facilities and estates – with their modern, well designed homes, generally offer top notch security systems, electrified fences, security patrols and gates manned by guards 24/7. Many estates include additional attractions which draw purchasers such as free-ranging game, clubhouses, tennis and squash courts, gyms, walking trails, parks and easy access to schools and highways.
Says Falkson: “There is a noticeable increase in demand for residential estates which is no longer exclusively limited to only the higher income brackets. While some established gated estates in KwaZulu-Natal are able to achieve sales prices in excess of R2-R3 million for vacant land, there are still estates that offer real value for money and where it is still possible to buy land for less than R750 000.
“The increased costs of bringing a new development to market, taking into consideration infrastructure such as roads, services and facilities, coupled with long town planning delays and strict ecological controls mean that developers will not be able to bring new developments onto the market at these price levels.”
Adds Becker: “Property prices at Intaba Ridge are still reasonable with vacant stands priced from R500 000 to R675 000, having increased by about 20 percent over the past two years. Plot and plan homes range from R1.85 million to R2.5 million, having increased from the price range of R1.59 million-R1.9 million in 2012. The completed homes are in three design styles, offering either: three bedrooms, four bedrooms plus study, and four bedroom plus study and staff quarters. These packages are a fantastic investment as the average house value is estimated at between R3.5million and R4million.”