Advice and Opinion Residential

KZN North Coast – the darling of SA property development

Sibaya Coastal Precinct

By Stefan Botha, director of Rainmaker Marketing

There is no doubt that as we enter a new dawn of Covid-19, where Omicron has seemingly lowered the status of this disruptive virus from pandemic to endemic, that there has been a fundamental shift in the mindset of consumers pre- and post-pandemic, particularly to what people prioritise and value as important. This is especially evident in the property sector and the burgeoning North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal is a prime example of how Covid-19 has re-shaped the buying and living habits of South Africans.

There has been a definitive shift in a number of areas that demonstrate how people have massively prioritised lifestyle when buying homes and how safety and lifestyle are among some of the key driving factors that explain the significant boom in property development and sales on KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast.

Every year, for the past five years, the greater North Coast area, which includes Salt Rock and Ballito, has seen the total value of transfers (in a calendar year) increase on average by 20% per annum. What is fascinating though, is that according to Lightstone Data, the increase seen from October 2020 to September 2021 saw the total value of transfers in the area escalate by 69% to R5.7 billion within that 12-month period – that’s three times the amount of what it has historically been for this region, which then begs the question: what is motivating this significant boom?

For one, research has shown that since Covid-19 hit our shores, consumers are prioritising lifestyle. The staggering increase in semigration figures linked to remote working, because of the pandemic, is testament to that. According to our National Residential Property Trends for 2021, state-of-the-art security is also a major driving factor for consumers when considering property purchases as well as having beautifully landscaped gardens, access to a cutting-edge clubhouse, and free and stable Wi-Fi. Location, however, is deemed to be a key driver of property growth.

The National Residential Property Trends for 2021 also indicates that coastal provinces are high in demand with the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal being considered as ideal lifestyle, holiday, and retirement destinations which explains why there is seemingly a large number of people from areas like Durban North, Morningside, Berea, and the upper west area of Durban (as well as Johannesburg) moving to KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast. This area is renowned for its wide variety of gated estates that have established themselves and are blank canvasses in terms of what they can offer from a lifestyle and overall facilities perspective.

Successful cases in point on the North Coast, that demonstrate the demand for lifestyle and safety as driving factors for residential property purchases, are the likes of newer estates such as Seaton, Zululami Coastal Forest Estate and Elaleni Coastal Forest Estate as well as catalytic developments like Zimbali Lakes Resort that are now in far developed construction phases.

The cherry on top though to demonstrate the growth and demand in this area must be Salta Sibaya. Over a nine-month period this estate was the best performing estate nationally from a sales perspective having achieved a historic R1.8 billion in sales since March 2021. What KwaZulu-Natal North Coast developments seem to have done right is to combine natural amenities like forests and the sea with state-of-the-art facilities as a residential offering. This being particularly relevant to the individual, especially since lockdowns have resulted in people valuing their home space more due to significantly more time being spent at home.

There is no doubt that there has been a greater movement into sustained lifestyles where developments offer people everything from retail to commercial, and facilities catering for adults and kids within one address like that of the recently re-vamped Odyssey Ballito precinct. Developments on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast are ideally positioned to meet these needs and those of the millennial (future) market who are fluid and flexible, requiring travel, work and living requirements. This market spends less time at home and therefore the size of homes becomes less of a concern if they can access an abundance of shared and secure lifestyle facilities within that address. Additionally, they save on household costs which enables them to use finances on other lifestyle demands such as travel.

It would be remiss of me not to attribute the substantial growth and demand for property on KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast – and in the country in general – over the 2021 period to record low interest rates which has stimulated the market and bridged the cost gap between renting and owning. Further to this, consider that between 2003 to 2016 residential property development opportunities targeted a higher income earning market with homes starting largely from R4 million and scaling up. Although this attracted many investors, the shift in price-point from 2017 onwards, saw the establishment of new gated estates under the R1 million mark. This naturally brought about diversity of product offering in the development space. Ballito Groves was the first time that complete entry level estate living in Ballito was introduced and this ultimately significantly opened the market for people to enjoy secure and luxury living on the North Coast from R700 000 upwards. This kind of new product offering that has become more commonplace within the gated estates helps provide access to people aspiring to estate living while still being hugely complimentary to other established estates.

Finally, you would only have to look at the population growth stats of approximately 30 families per month coming into the Salt Rock and Ballito area shared by Lightstone Data to realise the sustainability and growth opportunity in this part of the province and country. Bliss Ballito, a new development launching only in March, is further proof of the current unwavering demand having already generated over 5000 interested parties since the teaser campaign was released to the public in mid-December 2021.

It is no surprise then that big national players in the development space like JT Ross, Balwin Properties, International Housing Solutions (IHS), True North Developments and Auria Senior Living are currently investing into the North Coast. This is complimented massively by Tongaat Hulett Property also returning to business as normal through recent activities set to unlock new land opportunities to developers that includes significant infrastructure within the Sibaya Coastal Precinct. We can only anticipate more success and growth in what is surely deemed South Africa’s dream location for property development – KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast.