For family home buyers, proximity to good education is probably the most important factor in choosing their location. Still, says Mohammed Amra, director of the Pam Golding Properties area in Durban and Port Shepstone/Margate, some ideally suited centrally located suburbs with access to renowned government and private schools are sometimes overlooked.
“Schools influence buyers’ needs as they often choose to live in suburbs near top schools, and those with the means are generally willing to pay higher prices in a larger school district.
“Luckily there is still good value for money in Durban and as a result we are experiencing an influx of young professionals looking for homes to buy. According to Lightstone statistics, more than a third of recent home buyers in Glenwood (33%), Umbilo (34%) and Morningside (36%), were young adult buyers (under 35),” said Amra.
Amra said areas such as Glenwood, Umbilo, Windermere, Lower Morningside and North and South Beach offer a wide variety of homes for different budgets, as well as access to good schools.
These include private schools such as Maris Stella College, Clifton, Durban Girls College, Curro College, Eden College and St Henry’s Marist College, and government schools such as Gordon Road Girls School, Durban Girls High, Glenwood High, Durban High School, Ridge Park, Glenwood Preparatory School , Durban Preparatory, and Penzance, Morningside and Addington Primary Schools.
Homes in Glenwood are older, solid and spacious and often only need cosmetic updates, with a mix of houses and sectional title apartments priced between R900,000 and R1.5 million, lower Morningside prices ranging from R1.2 million to R1.8 million and from R3.5 million to R8 million in Upper Morningside, Essenwood and Musgrave, while houses in Windermere are mainly priced between R1 million and R2.5 million.
“A brand new, chic 16 unit townhouse development on Lambert Road in Upper Windermere, moments from vibrant Florida Road and walking distance to Clifton School, sees four bedroom, three bathroom luxury townhouses selling from R2.56 million. ( including VAT). Each unit has its own garden and a carport for two vehicles,” said Amra.
In Umbilo, entry level homes can be bought for between R700,000 and R1.2 million which is a very good price for multi-bedroom houses with a large yard area, while in South Beach living spaces range from R500,000 to R900,000 and between R1 million and R2.5 million in North Beach.
Both North Beach and South Beach are popular vacation and investment areas, so they are naturally busier during the holiday season.
“All of these areas provide easy access to major highways in and out of the city. New sectional title developments are springing up in Essenwood and Musgrave, offering security, contemporary comfort, lock-up-and-go convenience and proximity to eateries and shopping centers such as Musgrave Centre, The Atrium and Windermere Centre. Working from home has also created a greater demand for homes and complexes with outdoor and entertainment areas.”
Attractions for Durban residents include the vibrant nightlife of Florida Road, Suncoast Casino, Suncoast Beach, The Golden Mile, uShaka Marine World, Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban Botanic Gardens, and Durban Yacht Club, to name a few.
Amra says that in Westville, with its spacious tree-lined gardens, areas such as Berea West, Sydenham, Asherville and Sparks Estate, and in Pinetown, the New Germany suburbs of Manors, Sarnia and Farningham Ridge attract buyers who are attracted by schools.
These include Westville Girls High, Westville Boys High, Westville Junior Primary, Westville Senior Primary, Berea West Senior Primary and Berea West Preparatory, as well as Pinetown Boys High, Thomas More College and Benjamin Pine Primary in the Pinetown area, Pam Golding said.
“Children who live in the catchment area of these schools and come from nutrition schools are placed first, further increasing the importance of buying in the right location. Travel time and distance also play a role,” says Amra.
“The University of KwaZulu-Natal has campuses in Pinetown and Westville, making residential properties with additional accommodation attractive options for homebuyers and investors. Aside from Thomas More College, a private school bordering Pinetown territory, the other schools—especially Westville high schools—are more affordable government schools that offer top-notch education and are extremely popular.”
In New Germany, also home to solid, older housing that may only need cosmetic updates, prices are between R800,000 and R1.6 million, with newer apartments in complexes averaging between about R800,000 and R1.2 million.
In Manors and Farningham Ridge, a mix of high-end and entry-level homes see prices ranging from R1 million to R1.7 million – mostly older homes too.
About a third of the properties are section titles and while there are affordable options for young families – in the price range of R850,000 to R1.1 million, Asherville also has a number of quality properties priced between R1.5 million and R3 million.
Amra says, “A clear trend we see in the above areas is an influx of buyers entering the real estate market before settling for marriage and family. There is also a demand for properties with cottages or outbuildings, for additional accommodation or extended family. For convenience, malls include the Pavilion, Westwood Mall, The Spark and Pinecrest Mall.”
Looking further afield, Amra added that the lower south coast of KwaZulu-Natal also attracts buyers with school-aged children. Areas such as Umtentweni, Shelly Beach, Uvongo and Manaba provide access to South City School, Creston College, Port Shepstone High School and Izotsha Primary School.
“Schools are an important aspect when buying a house, especially on the south coast. When families move here from the big cities, they want a simpler lifestyle and that means you don’t have to drive an hour to get to your child’s school. All the schools here are 30 minutes from these suburbs and quite centrally located. Furthermore, the government schools have excellent programs and teachers.
“Most people see the south coast as mainly three areas – Hibberdene, Port Shepstone and Margate, and often don’t realize the amazing little suburbs we have that are very attractive to homebuyers of all generations – especially families.”
Community driven Umtentweni is a quiet, pretty suburb with lush trees crowning the streets and a lovely swimming beach. Most of the properties are built over double bleachers, making their gardens a haven for family and pets. Older detached houses with a farm feel range from R1.7 million to R4 million, apartments from R600,000 to R1 million and townhouses from R1 million to R2 million.
Amra said Shelly Beach is the central suburb of the south coast, with schools and businesses close by and Ski Boat Beach just down the road.
“There is something for everyone, from detached single-family homes to townhouses and bachelor homes. These range from R1.5 million to R5 million for modern detached houses, between R800,000 and R2.5 million for apartments and between R900,000 and R4 million for townhouses.”
Similar to Shelly Beach and also centrally located and close to all amenities, Uvongo offers a range of different properties that are more affordable for first time buyers than some other areas.
“There is a beautiful swimming beach and a fishing pier for a fisherman. Here, homes range from R900,000 to R3 million for detached houses, R750,000 to R2.5 million for apartments and from R800,000 to R2.5 million for townhouses.
“Manaba is often overlooked because it is a small suburb but offers spectacular views and is also slightly more affordable for new buyers, with apartments between R650,000 and R1.5 million, townhouses from R750,000 to R2 million and detached , older homes from R800,000 to R2.5 million.”
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