Stutterheim – The Secret Charmer of the Eastern Cape

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Often branded as one of the Eastern Cape’s best kept secrets, the bustling little town of Stutterheim lies at the foot of the Amatola Mountains on the banks of the Kubusie River.

The picturesque setting and peaceful tranquillity that many of the Eastern Cape town’s offer residents and visitors alike is all part of the charm and allure of this magnificent region. The province, which is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Nelson Mandela, has many towns and hamlets that are often overlooked by those meandering through the former Transkei. Stutterheim is just one such example.

The Magnificent Amatola Mountains

Built on the back of a flourishing timber industry and named after Major General Richard von Stutterheim, the leader of the British-German Legion in South Africa in 1857, the town is laced with scenic hiking trails and clear, trout-filled mountain streams. With a population of just over 46 000, a fairly large hospital, two junior schools and one high school, property in this neck of the woods appears to offer good value for money.

According to statistics recently released by Lightstone, there have been 43 transfers in the area in the last 12 months. The highest price paid for a property in Stutterheim in 2011 was R1.250-million, however, 27 of the sales that took place came in at less than R400 000. The freehold average was R389 000 and the sectional title average reflected at R325 000. Sales volumes have declined in the last few years and, when compared to the 87 sales that were concluded in 2006, this slowdown can be regarded as fairly substantial. That said, in terms of the overall Rand value of property sold in the area, 2010 holds the record with just over R17-million worth of property sold in that year.

Market stock is dominated by the freehold sector, with just under one percent of property falling into the sectional title sector of the market. A fairly rural area, the average household income, according to Lightstone’s statistics, is between R9 000 and R15 000 per month.

The fact that East London is a mere 70km away and given its proximity to the coastal town of Morgans Bay, the area ensures that residents can enjoy the best of both worlds, shopping and visiting the major centres or the seaside before returning to the seclusion and beauty of this lovely little town. The region produces wool, beef, dairy and citrus fruit as well as pine, gum and wattle from the local plantations.

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