As more Joburg families swap their chaotic city lifestyles for estate living on KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast, new data shows that twelve million people spent nearly R2 billion at Ballito Junction Regional Mall during its first year of operation.
The 80,000 square metre shopping centre opened on 23 March 2017.
By way of comparison, Clearwater Mall in Gauteng attracted 10.3 million visitors in 2017, Rosebank Mall saw 11.83 million visitors, and Canal Walk in the Western Cape attracted 20 million visitors.
Ballito Junction is located at the heart of a growing community, with over 3,000 new homes currently under construction or planned for development in the mall’s immediate catchment market.
The mall’s data showed that half of its shoppers were from its immediate core catchment area of Ballito and its surrounds, while a third (34%) come to the mall from the Durban area.
A breakdown of its Durban shoppers showed that while it is some 62km away from the mall, Durban itself accounts for 16% of Ballito Junction’s shopper market. Around 13% of its customer pool drive the 28kms from Verulam to the new mall. Umhlanga, which is 31kms away, represents 4% of its total shoppers.
All-in-all, KwaZulu-Natal shoppers make up 77% of Ballito Junction’s customers, but holiday makers also flocked to the new mall. Over the last year, Gauteng visitors accounted for 19% of Ballito
CEO of Ballito Junction, Geraldine Jorgensen, said that with an average of nearly a million visitors a month, its best performing month so far was December 2017 when it attracted some 1.4 million shoppers.
According to Gareth Bailey, Pam Golding Properties area principal for Durban Coastal on the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) North Coast, an increasing number of people are relocating their families from Gauteng to secure estates on KZN’s North Coast, where they can enjoy the sub-tropical climate, warm ocean, an abundance of top schools, new shopping centres and restaurants.
Bailey said another trend is that the breadwinner often travels to Gauteng during the week and returns on a Thursday or Friday.
These homeowners achieve their primary goal of living in a quality environment and, given the 10 minute trip to the airport and one hour flight to Gauteng, they don’t have to sacrifice much more than the average commute times experienced in the major cities.
“While this semigration trend was initially most prevalent along the Atlantic Seaboard in Cape Town, there has been a significant shift toward the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Two of the main factors affecting Cape Town include the city’s traffic congestion and, most recently, its water shortage.
“It seems that KZN’s road infrastructure is pre-empting demand with the completion of three massive new interchanges at Umgeni, uMhlanga and Ballito within just a few years of each other. In addition, it seems that the relocation of the international airport to the North Coast has ultimately been a significant enabler of the semigrant trend in our area,” said Bailey.
“While many people still think that it is necessary to sacrifice preferred location to live closer to work and reduce commute times, a new breed of hedonistic semigrants are choosing to live in their ideal location and travel to their workplace during the week.
“I think we will see this trend increasing as congestion in cities increases and people seek to prioritise quality of life over the hum-drum of big city living.”