For the first time in three years, it is forecast that there will be a 22% increase in the supply of newly built property nationally this year. Our Umhlanga market supports this statistic – cranes and scaffolding seem ubiquitous on our skyline.
However, how much of this new supply is catering to the needs of our retired population and what is the state of our retirement market on the North Coast?
Retirement options in Umhlanga can be counted on one hand and range from the more affordable Twilanga Retirement Village in Herrwood Drive to the more expensive estates like Somerset Valley in Somerset Park.
Twilanga works on the life right rental system whereby you pay a lease premium upfront and then get a pro-rata amount back if you leave or pass on within 10 years.
The village offers various independent living options ranging from R295,000 for a 40m2 bedsitter with a bathroom to R1,2 million for a 130m2 two bed, two bathroom apartment. The monthly levies are about R1,000 and R2,000 respectively.
Frail care at Twilanga ranges in price from R11,500 to R17,500 per month depending on the level of support required. This adds great value as it allows residents to “age in place” – a term coined for getting the support you need in your own living environment. This is especially convenient for married couples where a spouse needs frail care support as it saves the other spouse (and fellow elderly friends) the hassle of transport and allows more quality time between them.
On the premium end of the spectrum, Somerset Valley is a sectional title development where 20% of net profit is returned to the scheme upon exit. It comprises freestanding and semi-detached units ranging from R2 million for a 100m2 one bed, one bathroom unit to R3 million for the 170m2 three bed, two and a half bathroom option. The monthly levies are about R1,300 and R2,000 respectively.
Somerset Valley also has a frail care facility ranging in price from R18,000 to R27,000 per month depending on the services required.
Twilanga estimates that it has a 25-year waiting list and Somerset Valley has a waiting list of 15 people. The other retirement estates in our area also report excess demand and it seems, not surprisingly, that the biggest demand is for quality, affordable retirement options.
Evidently, our Umhlanga developers are heeding the call. Colin Kisten, developer of Grand Floridian in Illala Ridge, The Edge, The Meridian, Grand Central and Crystal Rock, is working on The Marina – a luxury retirement development in the Gateway area. The Marina will feature communal areas such as living areas, dining rooms, decks, a cinema and a large reception area complimenting its 150 individual units and 25%, commercial component.
“The Marina will be serviced by the medical suites that are being built as part of the adjacent Madison development, which will allow for top quality care to be provided supported further by the new Gateway Private Hospital,” explained Colin.
Another prominent local developer, Vejan Pillay, has also done some investigations into the feasibility of a retirement scheme in the Gateway area.
“We believe a well-structured retirement scheme with presence of a frail-care facility or some medical assistance and a hotel or concierge-type reception would be well-received in the Gateway area. This would be in a multi-storey complex which would be wheelchair-friendly, accommodate a manned reception, lounges etc,” says Vejan.
Further North, five minutes past Ballito, Brettenwood Coastal Estate is busy rolling out its Forest Village retirement component. The village will comprise 135 freestanding units in total when complete with two bed, two bathroom and three bed, two bathroom configurations available. They range in size from 195m2 to 264m2 and they are priced between R3 million and R4,5 million. Levies range between R2,500 and R2,900. The developers are currently in planning phase for a frail care component that will also feature step-down and dementia facilities.
The developers have paid special attention to the details of the units, including: elimination of all steps and slippery surfaces, provision of seats in showers and the use of environmentally and budget-friendly solar heating. The village also has a big substation generator to ensure uninterrupted power supply for its residents.
Perhaps the most valuable, unwritten feature of Forest Village, is that it is not isolated but rather tightly integrated with the rest of the Brettenwood Coastal Estate community comprising 705 households altogether. It provides a wonderful opportunity for retirees to live in the same estate as their children and grandchildren and enjoy all of the estate’s facilities including the clubhouse, the aerobics plunge pool, sauna and gym. The village also has an avid bird-watching community.
Catering for the needs of the elderly should be a priority, but up until now, has been somewhat neglected along our coastline. It is encouraging to see that developers have recognized this need and are responding – hopefully filling the gap over the next few years.
Have you considered investing in buy-to-let residential property? It is a solid asset class that delivers compelling returns in the long-term. Most people think about residential property as the house they live in. Whilst your primary property is an investment, it is a relatively poor performing investment compared to property that you buy to rent out.
Investing in residential property is relatively easy to understand as property is a physical asset constructed with brick and mortar versus the seemingly ethereal and complex nature of shares. This makes property an attractive option from a risk and return point of view. It offers both income return, in the form of rental income, as well as capital return, in the form of increased value over time.
Property performs more predictably and with far less volatility than, for example, the share market. The great power in property investment is leverage. Banks will far more readily lend you money against a property than any other asset class. With a relatively small deposit, the bank will help you reap the rewards of property investment.
As a simple example, assume you buy an apartment in the Gateway area for R700K and you put down a 10% deposit, or R70K. In 2014, home prices are expected to go up on average about 8%. Thus, the growth in the value of the property will be R700K x 8% = R56K in the first year. Given that you only put down R70K of your own money, your cash-on-cash return in the first year alone is effectively R56K/70K = 80%.
You will enjoy the capital growth on the full R700K value despite the fact that you only invested R70K of your own money. Over and above this capital return, you will enjoy an income return.
By comparison, if you had invested the same R70K in shares and, assuming they increased at the 2013 JSE average of about 20% for the year, your return would be R70K x 20% = R14K. Your cash-on-cash return would thus be 20%.
The cash-on-cash return of 80% for property compared to 20% for shares illustrates the power of leverage in generating wealth through property investment.
We have covered capital growth, but what exactly is income return? Income return, also commonly referred to as ‘yield’, is calculated as your annual rental income minus operating expenses (e.g. rates and levies) divided by the purchase price. To continue our example above, suppose the rent is R6,000 and rates and levies combined are R1,200. Then the income return or ‘yield’ would be (R6,000 – R1,200) x 12 / R700,000 = 8.2%.
Remember, that in our example, you have a bond with interest to pay. Therefore you will need to foot a small monthly shortfall for the first two years. But with annual increases in the rental, and a bond repayment that is consistent over time, unless the prime interest rate changes, the property will start generating positive cash flow within the first two years or so.
In the Umhlanga area, Gateway offers an ideal opportunity for prospective buy-to-let investors. The area boasts healthy capital appreciation and good yields driven by strong tenant demand.