Grahamstown - Historical Beauty at its Best

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Property in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape is holding its own in terms of price averages and although sales volumes are up from 151 in 2009, these figures still have some way to go to reach the 353 transfers recorded at the height of the property boom in 2005.

Home to the world renowned Rhodes University, the city’s property market, particularly the buy-to-let sector, has always profited from the growing demand for student accommodation. Investors often snap up property that is guaranteed to yield good returns and this demand reflects positively in the stats.

Obviously, there is more to the area than just a highly regarded tertiary institution and an Internet search reveals that there are a number of historical properties for sale, priced from around R6.4 -million. Sash windows, high ceilings, antique fire places and yellowwood floors are all part of the 'olde worlde' appeal and although these properties generally sell at a premium, one gets the idea that there are buyers who are more than willing to pay that little extra for the privilege of living in one of these beautiful homes.

Recent statistics sourced from Lightstone reveal that there have been 170 transfers in the area in the last 12 months. Market stock is made up of 89.78 percent freehold and 10.22 percent sectional title. The average price paid for a freehold property was R1.099-million and the sectional title average was R537 000.

Price averages have risen significantly since 2009 and have maintained steady growth since then. The average price paid for a freehold property thus far in 2012 comes in at R1.108-million, with the sectional title average reflecting a marked increase over the 2011 figure, coming in at R695 000.

Nicknamed the 'City of Saints', Grahamstown is home to more than 40 religious buildings and diverse denominations are catered for, from Roman Catholic, Methodist, Dutch Reformed and Quakers to The Church of Latter-day Saints and Muslims. The area also boasts a large number of private and public schools, including the well-known boys' schools, St Andrews College and St Aiden’s College. Girls' educational needs are catered for at schools such as the Diocesan School for Girls and Victoria Girls' High School.

Grahamstown is host to the National Arts Festival, a major annual drawcard which sees some of the most talented actors, dancers and musicians gather to provide a 15-day feast of entertainment. During this time, the town's population almost doubles as visitors flock to enjoy more than 500 shows, ranging from opera and jazz to drama and stand-up comedy - and almost everything in between!

The 1820 Settlers National Monument is well worth a visit for history buffs. Prominently situated atop a hill on the outskirts of the town, the monument pays tribute to the first intrepid English immigrants who arrived to start afresh on a new continent and celebrates the importance of the English language.

The town is also home to the second oldest museum in the country. The Albany complex, which comprises five museums - the Natural Science Museum, the History Museum, the Observatory Museum, the Provost Prison and Fort Selwyn - was founded in 1855.

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