CLAMOUR FOR STUDENT APARTMENTS IN STELLENBOSCH

With the end of the year only a few months away, the historic town of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape's Boland region is experiencing its annual 'apartment season', when parents seek accommodation for their children who will be students at the town's acclaimed university next year. This year Pam Golding Properties reports a dramatic increase in such demand - and in fact, the town's property market in general has proved resilient amid challenging market conditions, with PGP achieving record sales of R63 million in September.

PGP's area manager for Stellenbosch, Louise Varga, says the town traditionally experiences a high turnover of flats between September and November each year, with parents selling as their children complete their studies, and new parents coming into the market. "This constant turnover and consistently high demand assures any parent - or for that matter any investor - of sound capital growth in their property, even amid the worst market conditions," says Varga. "Even when interest rates were at an all-time high of 25 percent in 1998, we still had a strong demand for flats catering to this market. Similarly we continue to see strong interest at present, despite the current property climate."

PGP's MD for the Boland and Overberg, Annien Borg, says the market for apartments sees demand from investment buyers all year round, and is particularly attractive for expatriates, who can rest assured that they will always have a tenant. "Stellenbosch is at its very heart a student town, and the university maintains an exceptionally high reputation - meaning that the student market is not going anywhere," she says. "The simple economics of supply and demand mean that investment in an apartment here will show capital growth even in challenging times."

Apartments located within the university campus are particularly popular, not only for their proximity to lectures and libraries, but also for their access to the legendary Maties social life. As a result, these units tend to command the highest prices, and can also attract the highest rental income. A two-bedroomed unit in a new block on campus, for example, can attract up to R6500 per month in the current rental market.

As for prices, PGP reports that bachelor flats of 20 to 65sqm can currently be obtained for anything from R400 000 to R1.4 million. One bedroomed apartments cost between R470 000 and R1.7 million, while a two-bedroomed unit will come in between R540 000 and R2.75 million. Larger flats with multiple bedrooms are all priced over R1 million, with the ceiling at just over R3 million for a spacious four-bedroomed unit on campus.

For more information on apartments for sale in Stellenbosch, contact PGP agents Vanessa Johnson (082 588 7007) and Deanne Kriel (083 531 7827) or call their office on 021 887 1017. PGP's Stellenbosch area manager Louise Varga can be reached on louise.varga@pamgolding.co.za

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