As South Africa continues to attract growing numbers of UK buyers, you could be forgiven for thinking that the country begins and ends in Cape Town. But, as prices in the Western Cape continue to spiral, other property hotspots are now emerging. Ocean Estates' marketing manager Mark Feuilherade, based in Cape Town, says: "Everyone talks about Cape Town and we all love it but in some areas around here prices have tripled in the last five years. Places such as Durban have fallen by the wayside yet it has such a lot to offer."
Feuilherade describes Durban, in the Kwazulu-Natal region, as `the real Africa' and points to its wonderful climate, proximity to game reserves and beaches which are in the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean rather than the chilly Atlantic: "Many people say that in Cape Town you could be anywhere, it's been likened to Florida, yet Durban truly is Africa."
Prices in Durban area are also attractive and many new developments are starting to attract foreign investors who are finding that their budgets can't keep pace with prices on the Spanish Costas. "A luxury villa in Spain on a golf course would probably cost around pounds 625,000 but you can buy an equivalent property here for pounds 250,000 and get free family golf membership for the first year," says Feuilherade.
Rental returns are also proving to be a draw and Ocean Estates are offering buyers at their newly launched Ocean Reef, Zinkwazi a guaranteed 10 per cent return in their first year of purchase. This beachfront development is just under an hour away from Durban airport and all properties are located on the edge of pristine coastal dunes and boast views of the Indian Ocean. The two and three bedroom apartments are open plan and lead onto large wooden patio decks with prices starting from 1,940,000 Rand.
Patrick O' Shea of Engel & Volkers agrees that South Africa now represents a good alternative to many European destinations: "The investment potential here is enormous. The country has everything to offer from superb climate, stunning landscapes, some of the best beaches in the world, first-class restaurants and the winelands to name just a few and all for a fraction of the cost compared with Europe."
Buyers here can also take advantage of financial incentives: "Investors are still able to borrow up to 50 per cent of the property value. With interest rates at an all time low and inflation at just 5 per cent the real cost of borrowing is below 9 per cent which offers a fairly attractive package to the investor in a market which is experiencing growth at a phenomenal rate of 20 per cent," says O' Shea who believes that Blouberg, Fish Hoek and the suburbs all offer value for money and where pounds 60,000 buys an apartment with sea views and beach access. "Even in the Camps Bay area, the `Cote D'Azur' of Cape Town, a four-bedroom home is only around pounds 250,000 which is very reasonable compared to seaside property prices around the globe. …