Durban - In the tough economic climate, where debt is climbing and making ends meet is a daily struggle, the property market is still thriving, with not enough properties to meet demand.

Properties that are priced right are selling more quickly, despite the 0.5 percent increase in the prime interest rate.

Estate agencies said buyers were prepared to pay more than R1 million despite the difficult economy.

Myles Wakefield, the chief executive of Wakefields Real Estate, said there was a shortage of good, properly priced property to sell and rent.

“The number of days from going on the market to sale has dropped considerably and there are many examples of properties selling quickly.”

The most popular price range in the upper Highway area of Durban, Berea, Glenwood, Durban North and uMhlanga, was between R1 and R2 million.

Adrian Goslett, chief executive of RE/Max in southern Africa, said the trendy vibe of Glenwood attracted significant younger buyers, with almost 35 percent of recent buyers being aged between 18 and 35.

“The largest percentage of recent buyers are still those between 36 and 49. In 2008 the suburb experienced its lowest sales volumes to date. Sales picked up in 2009 and have continued to show growth,” said Goslett.

“Last year the number of sales was almost as high as the level seen during the property boom in 2007.”

Grant Gavin, the owner of RE/Max Panache, said he had not noticed an increase in the number of properties on sale in uMhlanga and Durban North.

The main reasons people were selling were to upgrade, downgrade or move for work, he said.

There was also a constant demand from people leaving freehold properties for secure complexes and estates.

“In the current market, most homes are selling if they are priced according to market value. Durban North and La Lucia are our prime suburbs and always account for the largest number of sales.”

Two areas that had seen an increase in sales were Glenashley and Sunningdale.

The average home in Glenashley sold for R2.3 million last year and that in Sunningdale for R1.4 million.

“The average home we sell from Durban North through to uMhlanga is now R2 million,” Gavin said.

Carol Reynolds, Pam Golding’s area principal for north Durban, said she was seeing stock shortages.

If homes were priced correctly they were selling within a month, she said.

Durban and Durban North markets were more active than last year because of their central location and schools.

“The most active price band is under R3 million, where we are seeing stock shortages,” Reynolds said.

“In the higher price bands, more than R4 million, stock isn’t turning as quickly and these homes sit on the market for longer.”

The Mercury