eThekwini is the province's largest metro and economic hub, with a population of approximately 3.5 million people. In 2000, the municipality was created by merging seven previously independent local councils and tribal land.
Lightstone divides the metro into four primary geographic regions, which include Durban city, Amanzimtoti and Kingsburgh to the south, Hillcrest and Kloof to the northwest, and Umhlanga to the north.
Hayley Ivins-Downes, head of digital at Lightstone, said there were 480,000 residential properties in eThekwini in 2022, valued at R470bn, at an average value of R1.1m a property which was 62% up on the average value of R680,000 10 years ago.
The single largest property band – with 35% of properties – was the R500,000-R1m band but it represented only 25% of the stock value, while the R2m-R3m band represented only 5% of the properties but 15% of the stock value.
Ivins-Downes said Durban, with nearly 150,000 properties, accounted for 31% of the volume and 34% of the value of properties in the municipality, while townships accounted for 21% of the volume but just 8% of the value.
“The highest average value suburbs in Durban were, in order of value, Durban North, Virginia, Glenashley and Athlone, where the average values were above R3m. The average value in Durban North was above R4m,” she said.
Of the high-value suburbs, Virginia recorded the highest value growth – 72% in the last 10 years, compared to around 50% in Durban North, Athlone and Glenashley.
On a less positive note, Durban Point saw property values increase by only 8% in 10 years to its average value of R2.4m in 2022.
There were 1,200 properties valued above R5m in Durban, and almost 7,000 valued above R3m.
Sales volumes in Durban have tracked the national averages. Of the 6,700 sales which took place in 2022, 56% were under R1m and 32% between R1m–R2m.
Ivins-Downes said average sales prices had been increasing while volumes had moved consistently between 6,000–7,000 sales a year, other than in 2020 when Covid-19 dampened the market.
Durban Central recorded the most transactions in 2022, followed by Bulwer and Musgrave although, as the table below indicates, the highest average prices were found in Morningside and Essenwood.
Of the approximately 6,000 sectional scheme properties in Durban Central, almost 500 transacted in 2022, including a full scheme of 150 units purchased. About 50 of the remaining 350 properties were bought at values below their valuation 10 years ago, providing evidence of the challenges facing the Durban Central area.
The average value of sectional schemes in Durban Central delivered lower than average growth. The properties were valued at just 34% higher in 2022 than their valuations 10 years ago (R560,000 compared to R320,000).
The average transaction value in 2022 for sectional scheme properties in Durban Central was R425,000(excluding the purchase of all units in the Russel Mansion scheme). Some 9% of the units in the iconic John Ross House were sold during 2022 at an average price of R466,000, indicating value erosion in real terms as sales prices increased by just 32% over 10 years.
The area going north – including Umhlanga, Mount Edgecombe, Umdloti and Tongaat – recorded the highest stock growth in the metro in terms of units over the past 10 years, with 3,700 new units in Umhlanga and 1,300 in Umdloti. The balance was spread across the region.
The suburbs where the highest volume of stock was added, were:
Ivins-Downes said Umdloti gained a third of its stock in the last year – which included the Sibaya Coastal Precinct, with a mix of residential, commercial and retail components – and Umhlanga gained 20% more stock over the past 10 years. As with most of the North Coast, accessibility to schools, shopping centres and the King Shaka International Airport helped drive the rising value in residential properties.
The strength of the Umhlanga area was evident when analysing some of the data. Sales in Umhlanga totalled almost R4bn in 2022, at an average of R2.8m per transaction. This contrasted with almost R1bn recorded in Umdloti at an average of R2.1m and the total in Durban Central of R170m at an average of R350,000.
There were 11,000 properties in the Umhlanga area valued at more than R3m (compared to 7,000 properties in Durban) and 4,400 properties valued at more than R5m, compared to 1,200 in Durban.
“Sales also told a different story, with volumes increasing from 2016 until Covid-19, as opposed to Durban where sales had been flat. Sales recovered in 2022 and the trend line should move upwards if current pattens continue,” said Ivins-Downes.
The north-eastern areas, which included Botha’s Hill, New Germany, Hillcrest, Kloof, Pinetown and Westville, saw stock growth of just 5% in the last 10 years, compared to 22% in the broader Umhlanga area.
Sales transactions improved significantly in 2021, while the average value of transactions has been increasing steadily over the past 10 years.
Kloof led sales in the area, with 7% of properties transacting at an average value of over R2m.
Suburbs with a significant number of sales in 2022 (more than 20) with values higher than R2m were:
There were just 1,600 new units added to the residential property stock in the area towards Amanzimtoti, in contrast to 6,000 in the Umhlanga area.
More significantly, the growth in value (47%) has been lower than any other area in eThwekeni – Durban’s value grew by 50%, towards Hillcrest by 61%, and towards Umhlanga by 55%.
There were just 10 properties valued above R5m (total value of R90m) which transacted during 2022 in the area, and only 105 over R2m at a total value of R343m.
The area’s best performer in terms of value growth was Panorama Park in Kingsburgh.