Known as the gateway to the Swazi Kingdom, Ermelo in Mpumalanga is situated at the epicentre of the N2, N17 and N11, making the town an ideal pitstop for visitors travelling through the region en-route to their chosen tourist destinations. The town is central to Standerton , Piet Retief and Secunda , with easy access to the majestic Panorama Route.One of the larger towns in Mpumalanga, the area has grown in stature and is set in the glorious grasslands and wetland of the region, offering nature enthusiasts natural scenery at its best. Within close proximity to attractions such as the Songimvelo Nature Reserve and the Nooitgedacht Dam Nature Reserve, the dams surrounding the local neighbourhoods offer water sport devotees and tourists a host of first-class sporting facilities and attractions.The town was named after the town of Ermelo in the Netherlands by the Reverend Lion-Cachet in 1871 and was practically destroyed during the Anglo Boer War. With only the church and one house standing after the war, the phoenix was raised from the ashes and the town was rebuilt in 1903. In recent years Ermelo has expanded at a compelling pace and the area has seen significant growth and development in both the commercial and residential sectors. The recommissioning of the Camden Power Station and the Usuthu Colliery has been a strong driving force behind some of the expansive growth that has been witnessed in the area. Commercial and residential developments have literally sprung up overnight and whilst the rest of the country has experienced a slow-down in property markets since 2007, Ermelo it seems has not succumbed to the general trend. According to recent property reports by estate agents in the area, residential housing stock is in huge demand and a large constituent of government-subsidised buyers are contributing to this upward movement. Property sales statistics released by Lightstone reveal that there have been a total of 214 sales that have taken place in the area over the last 12 months. Recent buyers aged between18 to 35 years old made up 33.78% of purchasers in the last 12 months and 35.14% of recent purchasers fell in the 36 to 49-year age group. Perhaps one of the attractions to the area for younger families is the availability of excellent public and private schools in the region, as well as tertiary educational facilities. The freehold sector comprises 93.93% of market share and the average price paid for property in this category came in at R764 000. Growth levels have increased year-on-year since 2007 and prices have increased steadily. There were 21 sectional title sales concluded and the average price paid for a unit was R472 000. There were 200 new bonds approved for property purchased in the area at an average value of R583 000. Shopping centre development is on the increase in the town and the recently-completed Ermelo Game Shopping Centre encompasses just under 7000 square meters of lettable retail space. Shops, restaurants and other entertainment facilities are on tap for those residing in the town. Development land is scarce and the last few sites are literally being snapped up by developers, according to reports. The town which once only just survived one of the most critical and turbulent times in South African history, seems to have weathered the storm well.
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