It’s no secret that KwaZulu-Natal is one of the country’s last remaining property hotspots. With its enviable infrastructure, unequaled climate and beautiful coastline, prime coastal sites have attracted the attention of all manner of homeowners and property developers.
Apart from the attraction of the region’s natural beauty, the accelerated demand for property along one of South Africa’s most iconic coastlines is no accident.
The key driver for this demand is the pressure that the city of Durban has been exerting as its population and economy have grown inexorably. This has resulted in a steady expansion of the city into its northern regions, leading to the once sleepy, but always desirable uMhlanga quickly developing into a major residential and commercial centre.
This demand for development coincided with Tongaat Hulett undertaking the process of converting land in this hot spot from agricultural to urban uses.
As the name suggests, Tongaat Hulett Developments was established to champion the conversion of formerly agricultural land into socially, commercially and environmentally desirable urban development projects.
One of those responsible for developing Tongaat Hulett Developments’ solutions and strategies is Head of Market Solutions, Xoli Shabalala.
“Over the past few years demand has, predominantly, been driven by the residential market sector. We anticipate that the demand for a range of residential types and urban amenities across all income groups will continue to grow in the region,” she says.
“The vision for the market solutions role is to create best-fit customer and market centred real estate solutions. This entails ongoing engagements with existing and prospective customers including investors, developers, end-users, government and communities to develop relevant and innovative real estate solutions that will satisfy the greatest market demand in an optimal manner.”
And there is no shortage of demand.
Tongaat Hulett Development research indicates that Durban’s population of 3.7 million people is expected to grow by another 500 000 people by 2021. Coupled with this population growth is an expected increase in GDP per capita of around 16%.
These are both encouraging indicators that bode well for continued demand for property – both residential and commercial.
Shabalala says the areas of the market that are currently showing highest demand include the retirement, affordable private schools and business process outsourcing sectors.
“Ranked the best South African city in which to live by Mercer’s 19th Quality of Living survey, Durban offers a lifestyle to live, work, learn, shop and play that is the benchmark aspired to by South Africans across the country. It is a gateway to South Africa due to its great air, road and rail infrastructure and advanced port linkages,” she says.
Tongaat Hulett Development’s activity over the past few years ranges from high-end developments including Sibaya Coastal Precinct, Izinga and Kindlewood to medium and high-intensity urban mixed-use projects such as uMhlanga Ridge, Bridge City, Ridgeside, Cornubia and, in an emerging new node, Ntshongweni near Hillcrest to the west of Durban.
Shabalala is justifiably excited about the potential that the growth trends in Durban present, in combination with Tongaat Hulett Developments’ track record in completing such landmark property projects.
“The company occupies a unique space in the property industry, but what sets it apart is its inclusive, collaborative approach to creating value across the entire spectrum of income groups and its commitment to transforming the property sector” she explains.