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Sales of sought-after KZN North Coast properties take a nose dive

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Sales of sought-after KZN North Coast properties take a nose dive

The recent floods and devastation have affected sales, but estate agents are confident the area will rise again

Senior reporter
The sale of posh residences along the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast belt has been set back by the recent floods.
ON EDGE The sale of posh residences along the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast belt has been set back by the recent floods.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Janine Cuthbert was about to put her beachfront flat in Umdloti on the market when the floods hit KwaZulu-Natal in April.

The Isikhulu block of flats was engulfed by mud and cars were trapped in the parking lot.

Cuthbert’s home is one of hundreds of sought-after residences along the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast belt whose sale has been jeopardised by the recent floods, forcing homeowners to delist their damaged properties or reduce the price.

Worst hit has been the upmarket seaside village of Umdloti, where some properties have been obliterated by mudslides caused by the recent torrential rains.

Despite a slowing down in sales along the North Coast, regarded as the “jewel” of the province’s property market because of the demand for luxury homes, real estate experts believe the dip will be temporary, as repairs and rebuilding begins.

“We had a meeting with the body corporate and plans are under way to retain and peg the land behind our complex,” Cuthbert said.

“A storm water pipe is being installed and work is also underway to clear the sand and generally clean up our complex. Engineers have been consulted and confirmed that Isikhulu’s structure has not been unduly compromised.”

IN NUMBERS:

52  -  the number of sites in KwaZulu-Natal in need of bridges. 

Between R2m and R5m - the price band of low stock in the North Coast market.

Cuthbert said the planned upgrade for Umdloti encouraged her to retain her property.

Andreas Wassenaar, licensee for Seeff North Coast and Zimbali, said the severity of the impact of the floods on the property market will depend on the length of time taken to repair major infrastructural damage.

But Wassenaar warned of the risk of a decline in property values in flood-hit areas like Umdloti.

“This will depend on how the damage can be repaired where possible and what measures can be put in place to mitigate the risk and a repeat of this in the future.”

He said more residents were looking to sell their properties in badly affected areas.

“Two catastrophic flood events in quick succession have made people believe that the risk of future flooding is far higher.”

However Wassenaar said the floods would not tarnish the North Coast’s image of being  the jewel of the province’s property market.

“The greater area is far bigger than the suburbs that were badly impacted.”

Brett Botsis, director for Seeff Umhlanga, said: “We cannot deny that there are property owners who are looking to sell now as a result of the flooding and their awfully sad experiences and terrible losses.

“We are being approached by homeowners who wish to sell their homes and there has also been an increase in rental inquiries, which we anticipate will increase over the coming months as the damages to affected properties are assessed by insurance companies and repair work commences.”

Mandy Radmore, of Remax Panache North Durban, said when it came to property sales in Umdloti, “I do believe that there may be a few properties that may transact at a slightly lower price. However, this would probably only be in the short term. Beachfront property has and always will be prime real estate.

“At this stage it has not become apparent that people are wanting to sell and move. Umdloti is a multibillion-rand residential real estate area. It is inconceivable that homeowners would not make every attempt to ensure that the village of Umdloti is restored to its former glory or better,” said Radmore.

I doubt there will be many sales in Umdloti for a while – but once repairs have been done I do believe Umdloti will rise again. I think it will take a lot more than some flooding to take the North Coast down.
Sabrina Errico, Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty

Sabrina Errico, Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty broker principal in Ballito and Umhlanga, has seen a decrease in demand for property since the floods.

“We’ve also have had properties taken off the market due to damage and some of our sellers have reduced pricing. 

“I doubt there will be many sales in Umdloti for a while — but once repairs have been done I do believe Umdloti will rise again. I think it will take a lot more than some flooding to take the North Coast down.”

Carol Reynolds, Pam Golding Properties area principal for Durban Coastal, said most sellers in Umdloti “are affluent and can afford to hold onto their properties, rather than selling them at a time when the area doesn’t present well.

“We have seen some reluctance from buyers who are waiting to see what transpires before they commit to purchasing in the area.

“Cape Town had a year of drought, and the market there has fully recovered, so every region has bumps in the road from time to time, but ultimately nothing can replace a superb position and Umdloti enjoys that luxury,” said Reynolds.

Malusi Mthuli, KwaZulu-Natal head of FNB Commercial Property Finance, expects “more seller-willingness and opportunistic-buying in the short term”.

“But the ever-increasing demand and growth of the North Coast property market will quickly get this market back to pre-flooding levels, without any significant erosion of property values.”

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