Grape expectations: Stellenbosch
Buying in the Cape Winelands makes great investment sense right now. Here’s why to buy and invest in historic Stellenbosch.
The second-oldest town in the country and renowned for its ancient oak trees and well-preserved historical buildings, Stellenbosch is the gateway to the Winelands. Situated 50km to the east of Cape Town on the banks of the Eerste River, it is the anchor town in the municipal area that includes Franschhoek and settlements such as Klapmuts, Koelenhof, Pniel and Raithby. It is home to one of the country’s leading universities as well as some of its oldest and most exclusive schools. The university residences can, however, accommodate only about a fifth of the student population, so student lodgings are at a premium and many of the original Cape Dutch and Victorian homes in its central suburbs have been converted to meet this need. Others have been turned into B&Bs and guest lodges to cater for the large tourist throughput.
While these changes may have steadily diminished the supply of family homes – and driven up prices – they have also spurred the development of new residential estates on the margins of Stellenbosch, including the upmarket De Zalze Winelands Golf Estate and the more affordable De Wijnlanden and Welgevonden estates.
However, because the city has now imposed a moratorium on all new projects, further development opportunities are limited and, as a result, estate prices are set to rise, adding further fuel to local demand. While often low-key (many sellers prefer not to draw attention to the really top-end properties), wine farms in the area are also selling robustly and demand remains strong, says Andre Malan, an agent for Seeff Stellenbosch, who cites recent sales at having ranged from R30 million to R85 million, but with some properties in the area on the books for up to a whopping R170 million.
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