Student Accommodation Helps Drive Prices in Scottsville

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

The charming city of Pietermaritzburg has many treasures just waiting to be discovered. Among these are the enchanting suburbs of Scottsville and Pelham. Scottsville has five shopping centres, medical and dental facilities, restaurants, a choice of entertainment options and is situated conveniently close to the central business district.

As with other university cities, the demand for student accommodation is high and Scottsville is particularly popular because of its proximity to the world-class University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). Founded in 1910, UKZN was one of the first universities to welcome black students and has gone on to educate some of South Africa’s most famous citizens, including Steve Biko and Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

The area is also home to St John’s Diocesan School for Girls, a private institution that offers boarding facilities. Founded in 1887 as the St Cross Orphanage by a small group of English nuns, the institution was originally housed in Loop Street. The school soon gained a reputation for academic excellence and its rapid growth forced the school to move to its current, more spacious location in Scottsville in 1913.

Pietermaritzburg is often referred to as the city of flowers because of its glorious botanical gardens, leafy suburbs and lush green surrounds. There are also antique shops, markets, art galleries and museums, and its major claims to sporting fame are being the starting point of the annual Dusi Canoe Marathon and the start - or end -of the Comrades Marathon which takes place between Durban and Pietermaritzburg each year and attracts thousands of local and international athletes.

The city is home to several historical sites and the architecture of many of the buildings both in the suburbs and in the city centre display the distinct Edwardian and Victorian features which highlight the region’s strong colonial past. The area continues to appeal and property prices in Scottsville, perhaps due to continued rental demand, have maintained a steady growth since 2004. According to statistics recently released by Lightstone, there have been 63 transfers in the area in the last 12 months, amounting to just over R62-million. The average price paid for a freehold property was R870 000 and the sectional title average came in at a lower R597 000.

Neighbouring Pelham has seen a total of 43 transfers in the last 12 months with all sales falling into the freehold sector of the market. The average price paid for a property was in the area was R749 000, coming in slightly lower than comparable properties in Scottsville. The statistics reflect that stable owners, who have resided in the area for longer than 11 years, made up 34 percent of owners in Scottsville and 39 percent in Pelham. This is a clear indication of the excellent reputation that these residential areas enjoy.

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