As Nelson Mandela once said, “the Free State landscape gladdens my heart no matter what my mood. When I am here I feel that nothing can shut me in and my thoughts can roam as far as the horizons”. The same could certainly be said of the small and vibrant town of Parys.
This quaint country town, situated on the southern banks of the Vaal River, has boomed in recent years and has become a real estate hotspot. Just an hour's drive from Johannesburg and often used as a 'pit stop' en route to destinations such as Bloemfontein and Cape Town, Parys is an interesting place, dotted with art galleries, antique outlets and coffee shops.
Recently declared South Africa’s seventh World Heritage site, the Vredefort Dome is reportedly the largest – and one of the oldest – meteorite sites on the planet. The mountain range, referred to as “the Dome”, which surrounds the towns of Vredefort and Parys, was created over two million years ago when the meteorite struck the earth. The magnificent fauna and flora in the region is attributed to the compound deposits which enriched the soil with minerals.
Parys has become a popular tourist destination, thanks perhaps in part to its close proximity to two of South Africa’s major cities, Pretoria and Johannesburg. In recent years, this once predominantly farming community has embraced the influx of visitors. Although the river was initially the major drawcard, the town has gone on to capitalise on other aspects of tourism. With a well-established country club, a 9 hole golf course, hiking trails and abseiling, there is plenty to keep visitors busy and coming back for more. Annual water sports events attract the crowds and provide much needed downtime for city slickers in need of a weekend getaway.
Property in the town has become sought after and it has been said that Parys has one of the highest per capita investment rates in the country. The area offers real estate investors a wide range of properties, from full title homes and sectional title properties to golf estate living. In terms of recent sales, Lightstone statistics reports that a total of 206 transactions were registered over the last 12 months, with just over R70 million worth of property sold thus far in 2011. The statistics also reveal that the average price paid for a full title property was R558 000 and the average price paid for a sectional title property was R481 000.
It comes as little surprise that Parys has become popular as the average property price has remained reasonable. Sales volumes increased drastically during the nationwide property boom; however, numbers have declined somewhat since 2005. There is some prime real estate available and properties with river frontage command top prices. As the old saying goes, position is everything and those who wish to own property on the river are going to pay a premium.
Whether it’s a round of golf at the Nick Price signature course perched on an island in the middle of the river, a weekend getaway at the Vaal De Gráce Golf Estate or river rafting at Hadeda Creek, Parys it seems, has something for everyone.