Howick becomes ‘retirement city’
Howick, set in a part of KwaZulu-Natal renowned for its natural beauty and spectacular waterfalls, has become one of the region’s most sought-after retirement destinations.

Northern Howick in particular has become “retirement city” says Gleryl de Rauville of ERA Unique in Pietermaritzburg.

“Developers have seen the opportunities and numerous new projects are in the pipeline, adding considerably to the offering of earlier developments and putting Howick firmly on the map for retirees. However supply is simply not keeping up with demand and there are long and growing waiting lists of buyers.”

De Rauville says the situation has now also attracted the attention of buy-to-let investors, so the ownership profile in many retirement villages is “not entirely what you might expect”.

Most of the new developments are sectional title schemes, typically comprised of one and two bedroom units in a secure complex, and many have full frail care and recreational facilities. “On the other hand some developments are being sold on a life rights basis where prices are more affordable but where ownership of the property ultimately reverts to the seller.”

The major attractions to the area right now include the new Medi Clinic hospital, strategically sited to serve various retirement villages, and the upgrade of the Fairways Mall. It’s also notable that the Umgeni Municipality seems keen to encourage the development of more retirement villages in the area by providing services for developers.

“As to the quality of life in Howick, there is no major traffic congestion, the amenities are first world, the transport infrastructure is good, security is reasonable and the climate is mild, without the humidity of Durban or the biting cold of the Midlands.”

“The area also remains a tourist attraction thanks to the Howick Falls and many local places of historic interest, the bonus for local residents being the coffee shops, boutiques and other ‘touristy’ facilities that serve the visitors.”

As an indicator of prices in the area, says De Rauville, one-bedroom units at the new Amberfield development are priced at R595 000, two-bedroom units are priced at R820 000 and two-bedroom freestanding units at R860 000.

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