A lovely view from one of the beaches in Ballito.
While Ballito has always been a popular seaside destination for Durban locals, it was the opening of the King Shaka International Airport in May 2010 that really put this coastal gem on the map. Since then, the once-quiet town has become one of the biggest growth areas in KwaZulu-Natal, garnering significant interest from property investors looking for positive, income-generating assets.
“Ballito has become highly sought-after as a holiday destination,” says Denise Hattingh of the Rawson Property Group’s Ballito franchise. “It has everything you could need – all the infrastructure and amenities, along with perfect weather, wonderful wildlife and pristine beaches – and with the convenience of King Shaka Airport just 10 minutes away, it’s now easily accessible from almost anywhere in the world.”
Thanks to this convenience, accessibility, and enviable lifestyle, the demand for holiday rental accommodation in Ballito is strong. This has created a great opportunity for buy-to-let investors looking to capitalise on the continued property growth in the area, while using rental income to offset investment expenses.
“There has definitely been an increase in buy-to-let investment in Ballito,” says Hattingh. “We have both local and international buyers, but a significant proportion of investors at the moment are young, professional South Africans who are currently living and working abroad. They are taking advantage of the favourable buying conditions to put their strong foreign currency to good use, here at home.”
With capital growth in Ballito sitting at around 10%, and return on rentals as high as 20%, it does seem like a good option for a budding investment property portfolio. In spite of the positive numbers, however, Hattingh cautions buyers not to jump in without doing their research, as certain properties will always do significantly better than others.
“I’d definitely recommend getting in touch with an experienced real estate agent in the area before you buy,” she says, “especially if you’re not based in the country or you aren’t familiar with Ballito and its various neighbourhoods. In general, though, anything in close proximity to the beach can be a sound investment, but properties with ocean views are definitely first prize. They maintain their value while giving the highest rental returns but they are also very popular and can be difficult to come across at times.”
“Wherever you buy,” she continues, “think security, low-maintenance, and modern finishes – holiday-makers want a fuss-free, home-away-from-home. Apartments tend to be popular – especially those with pools in the complex – but make sure your unit is either newly built, well maintained, or easy enough to renovate to modern standards.”
A sectional title beachfront property in Ballito could list for anything from R1.3 million to R8.5 million, and can bring in between R2000 and R4500 per day in rental, in high season. “With the right property, rentals can cover a big part of your investment expenses,” says Hattingh, “but you do need to take things like occupancy rates and seasonal fluctuations into account when estimating potential income. No holiday property will have 100% occupancy, but a well-maintained and well-positioned apartment in Ballito could definitely achieve around 70%.”
For those interested in getting a foot in the door of the buy-to-let market in Ballito, Hattingh recommends moving quickly, as continued demand and limited supply will inevitably impact affordability. “Timing is always important in property investment, and the conditions may not be as favourable for buyers as they are now, for very much longer,” she says. “If you’re considering investing, don’t hesitate too long or the opportunity will pass you by.”