Located on the Vaal River within the Vredefort Dome area – recently proclaimed a World Heritage Site, the vibrant town of Parys in the Free State continues to experience strong interest in its residential property market from home buyers, reports Rossouw Muller, area principal for Pam Golding Properties. He says house prices have sustained sound value, and while sellers have adjusted to more realistic asking prices in the current economic climate, prices achieved have reduced on average by only around five percent over the past year.
"In recent years and during the more buoyant trading conditions, Parys became well known as a very desirable location in which to reside and commute to work in the metropolitan area of Johannesburg - which is just one hour's drive – or as an ideal work from home location. Already popular among retirees, the town received a considerable boost with an influx of new residents consisting mainly of younger couples and families."
Muller says buyers are drawn by the tranquil lifestyle, with a wide variety of activities for the outdoor enthusiast including fishing, golf, hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, river rafting, kayaking and other water sports. There's also a small local airport catering for small aeroplanes. Every weekend the village is buzzing with visitors enjoying the numerous arts and craft stores and adventure and sports activities. "In November we once again host the renowned Dome Festival – a major adventure festival focusing on sports as well as music and arts. Despite the recession Parys remains popular as a weekend leisure destination as it's easily accessible for a day trip from areas within the Vaal Triangle, as well as Johannesburg, East Rand, Midrand, Centurion, Krugersdorp, Randfontein, Potchefstroom Klerksdorp and nearby Free State towns – all within a radius of around 150km.
"Throughout the prevailing, constrained economic climate the residential property market in Parys has continued to enjoy steady activity, with 80 percent of our purchasers during the past financial year (ended February 2009) being cash buyers. The bulk of these comprise those who have already made their money and are about to retire," says Muller.
"Over this period PGP has achieved the highest price registered during the year 2009 to date for a house in the town. This five bedroom home on a large stand, with river views, was sold for R2.5 million, compared with the average house price in the town of R600 000.  In terms of the sale of sectional title homes during this period, the average price was R460 000, with the highest price being R1.01 million. The highest price ever registered in Parys for a house in the town is R3.3 million."
Muller says positive news is that the area's road infrastructure is being upgraded while land for the development of lodges and B&B's is being negotiated with landowners along the Vredefort Corridor – the long stretch of river just before you enter the Vredefort Dome. Currently several B&B's are available for purchase priced from R1.5 million. In the Vredefort Corridor alone there are already two new lifestyle developments – either linked or close to town, thereby providing an economic boost for the area. With eco-friendliness a high priority, the developments comprise stands of one hectare and larger full title stands, with state of the art house designs.
Muller says in the Parys area there are 12 lifestyle estates, each incorporating from 15 to 550 residential properties and catering for a range of different lifestyles. Among these are two successful golf estates, one of which is the prestigious Vaal de Grace Golf Estate which is home to the first Nick Price Signature Championship golf course in South Africa and which constantly received positive feedback from visitors and golf enthusiasts. Completed homes are available for purchase from around R3 million and 800sqm stands from R570 000.
"Prime real estate such as river front property remains sought after and seldom changes hands. Vacant stands on the river front are priced from R1.5 million for one hectare sites, while river front stands of around 1000sqm located within lifestyle estates are also priced at around R1.5 million. For completed homes on the waterfront you'd pay generally in the price range from R2.5-R3 million for three and four bedroom homes of about 350sqm on stands of 2000sqm upwards," he says.
Issued by Gaye de Villiers
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