Guest panel: Chris du Toit from Tongaat Hulett Developments unpacks the Retire KZN campaign
It is evident that the Retire KZN initiative has generated a significant amount of investment into KwaZulu-Natal and undoubtedly put this province on the map for retirement living. This campaign, however, has turned into something more than what you see at face value. It has become a tool for developers to base their retirement models on, garner insight into modern retirement trends and acquire a better understanding of the retirement target market. We speak with Tongaat Hulett Developments’ Commercial Director, Chris du Toit for further insight into how Retire KZN has shaped the retirement property industry.
Following the recent confirmation, Retire KZN has stimulated over R1 Billion in retirement investment into the KwaZulu-Natal economy and the campaign has continued to have a huge impact on retirement property development. “We set out to put KwaZulu-Natal on the map for retirement development, and what has become of Retire KZN has far exceeded our expectation. Retire KZN has created a unique retirement community, and through engagement, has educated us together with our developers, and society in general, on what retirees really want,” shares Du Toit.
Through extensive research, Tongaat Hulett Developments believed that KwaZulu-Natal had immense potential as a retirement destination. KwaZulu-Natal’s beautiful coastlines, close-knit community, as well as its affordable and quality lifestyle creates value for the elderly and is a charming relaxed destination that most can easily fall in love with. As a result of the research it was revealed that KwaZulu-Natal has notable similarities to America’s retirement capital, Florida.
“Retire KZN has helped evolve the perception of retirement culturally. We now also have a model that provides insight and understanding into the financial challenges, which allows us to be creative in our approach aiming for products that are financially viable. Knowing what is important to buyers, such as an onsite care centre, helps developers gain perspective in which elements to invest in first. Previously, onsite care centres were viewed as grudge investments, as it generated no income, and now we all understand that a care centre is viewed as a necessity,” explains Du Toit.
Retire KZN has achieved a fair amount of insight, investment into KwaZulu-Natal and introduced a number of retirement developments. “Our goal is to find an attractive retirement model that is price-sensitive, as we have discovered through our research, there is a massive market for a purchase price that is just below the R1 million mark. We really want to see products surface that fill this gap and provide affordable retirement living,” shares Du Toit.
“Mount Edgecombe Retirement Village was awarded the title of one of the best retirement villages in South Africa, while Shoreline Sibaya became the fastest selling retirement estate in KwaZulu-Natal. These titles are due to the developers following and using our research guidelines, and further understanding the retirement market. The successful sales results reiterate the power of the data we share,” says Du Toit. “We are seeing experienced retirement developers, like Evergreen, come through and expand their brand into KwaZulu-Natal. We truly hope to see more and more developers follow these footprints as we are still thousands of units short of retirement homes required by the market,” continues Du Toit.