Europeans snap up pricey property in KwaZulu-Natal

Simpiwe Piliso

Simpiwe Piliso

British and German jet-setters are bucking the global credit crunch and splashing out in euros for prime coastal homes and estates that have seen asking prices slashed.

Estate agents in Durban this week said they had recorded a flood of cash sales of between R3million and R6million for modest homes and sea-facing apartments since December.

Rolling out the red carpet and stuffing the buyers with lobster and champagne, the estate agents said other cash-flushed Europeans were snapping up homes priced between R1million and R5million.

One property that has attracted interest from foreign buyers is a R22-million beach-front penthouse, located in Pearl Tides in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal.

Boasting 180 degree ocean views, the 600m² double-level penthouse features three en-suite bedrooms, an open-plan living area and a private rim-flow pool.

Pam Golding Properties' (PGP's) Elwyn Schenk, whose branch recently sold a four bedroom apartment in Umhlanga for R11million, said sales in the suburb were increasing.

Foreign buyers include investors, corporate executives, celebrities, socialites and civil servants eager to cash in on South Africa's property slump.

In June last year, The Times revealed that Hollywood stars Nicolas Cage, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jude Law's former wife, Sadie Frost, were just a few of the international celebrities discreetly hunting for houses in Umhlanga.

At the time, property analysts said international buyers were at last finding Cape Town's seafront suburbs - where prices range from R5million for a one-bedroom apartment to R60million for a beach bungalow - too expensive and were turning their attention to prime property along the KwaZulu-Natal coast.

Last week PGP said it had recently showcased homes to high net worth individuals at the SÜD-AFRIKA Tage 2009 show in Germany.

Dina Porteous, who runs PGP's operations in Margate said: "Our exhibit attracted a great deal of interest. It is clear that what attracted interested buyers is our abundance of sunshine, coupled with our friendly people and beautiful homes."