THE GRAND DAMES OF DURBAN NORTH
Category Durban Property Market
In many ways, those large green plots, towering trees and spacious homes were the drawcards of this family-orientated suburb, and although Durban North is certainly no longer a satellite suburb, those elements are still a primary magnet for a sector of the market. But are rising utility bills, staffing and security concerns making those large homes part of history?
The natural movement of older residents is out of large homes into smaller ones, often gated estates, but in Durban North, some do it differently. Entire families move in. Retirees move into the renovated or new cottage in the grounds, while adult children take over the main house. The advantages are clear and numerous - costs are shared, house sitters on tap, grandchildren have grounds in which to run free, grandparents are physically and emotionally close to grandchildren (and often fulfil the aftercare need), parents can choose a work-from-home situation (renovated garage or domestic quarters), keep an eye on - and contact with - frail parents...the list is endless. In many ways, it's the way we'd all like family life to be.
But there are also young families who choose the lifestyle offered by a large freestanding home with big grounds. Yes, cost can be a barrier as these homes are often in the more affluent upper reaches of Durban North. Myles Wakefield, CEO of Wakefields Real Estate says, "There's a real demand for large homes equiring degrees of TLC, because young people have time to renovate as funds allow. They're not worrying about the unfashionably shaped pool right now, they're happy their children have a pool in which to swim, and space for school friends to run free." He added, "These properties can be picked up for under R3m, so little chance of over-capitalisation. In addition, with good street access, plots can often be sub-divided and smaller sub-divisions sold off."
Many, too, are drawn to the old Cape Dutch or Tudor architecture with high ceilings and vast rooms, the grandeur of sweeping driveways, perhaps a tennis court, the freedom of pets without permission, and green space in which to flex a family...all elements which mitigate strongly against the reasons why not. There's certainly a market segment seeking the possibilities of these old Durban North homes, and for those who're lucky enough to pick up a well-priced one, it can be a great investment.
Author: Anne Schauffer