Record house price of R5.4m achieved by PGP
A residential property market which has remained remarkably resilient and is already starting to see increased sales is that in Grahamstown, home to Rhodes University and other nationally-respected educational facilities.
"The reason our housing market has remained sustainable is because it is largely driven by a demand from those seeking the best educational facilities for their children, in a safe environment," says Daphne Timm, area principal for Pam Golding Properties.
"Schooling here is of a very high standard with excellent private schools St Andrews College and Preparatory school, Diocesan School for Girls and Kingswood College, as well as very good government schools Victoria Girls High and Primary schools, Graeme College and PJ Olivier Hoërskool. As a result we experience an ongoing demand for a variety of accommodation from family homes to townhouses and flats for rentals to cater for university students."
Timm says evidence of the upturn in the property market is that for the year 2008 the PGP office concluded 39 transactions, while for the year March 2009 to end July they had already concluded 42 sales. "This is coupled with the fact that Grahamstown has not seen the erosion in property values experienced by many other areas. Prices here have reduced only by approximately five percent and there are also pockets of areas which have not experienced any drop in price at all.
"In Westhill and Oatlands we are seeing homes that are fetching prices of R3.8 million and we recently sold the highest priced property achieved in Grahamstown to date – R5.4 million for a beautiful four bedroom home with expansive, open living spaces and set on large grounds of 4400sqm, with a swimming pool included. The previous highest price achieved for a residence in Grahamstown was R4.5 million. At present we have homes listed across a broad price range right up to R10.8 million for a magnificent 600sqm, seven bedroom, stone home - with three guest suites in addition – set on a large stand of 2766sqm and situated in a prime location directly opposite the Diocesan School for Girls.
"A large portion of our sales are homes of three or four bedrooms, within walking distance to schools, and priced up to approximately R3 million. There is a huge demand for homes in the price range from R650 000 to R1.5 million, however these are hard to come by."
Timm says due to the fact that the demand for student accommodation is constant – and never sufficient to meet this demand – rental income for investors is sound. "At Aries Nest, a new 40 unit sectional title development within walking distance of Rhodes campus, the shopping centre and entertainment facilities, the first and second phases have sold out at prices ranging from R575 000 to R615 000. The third phase is now selling, with secure, two bedroom units of 50sqm priced at R715 000. Another new residential development, Aquataine Way, comprising 24 two bedroom units priced at R685 000 has also sold out.
"With such a strong demand for this kind of accommodation securing good rentals, an investor purchasing one of these units would put down a 20 percent deposit and after the first year would have his/her bond covered by the rental income," says Timm.

Issued by Gaye de Villiers

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