Restoration is happening in Durbanville, a suburb where many aspire to live, with its high concentration of schools, rural-type village atmosphere, large plots and secure homes.
The town of Pampoenkraal was established in the early 19th century, serving as a watering station for travellers into the interior.
In 1836 it was renamed D’Urban after the then governor of the Cape, but there was some confusion a few years later when the British gave the biggest town in what was Natal the same name, and our D’Urban became Durbanville.
Today, says Rowan Alexander, director of Alexander Swart Property, Durbanville’s association with Cape history is being brought to its residents’ notice by the restoration of its historic Heritage Square and surrounding buildings. Durbanville residents, he says, appreciate the “sense of identity” of being part of a community with its own character.
“These and certain other factors have made Durbanville the town to which a great many northern suburbs residents aspire to move one day if and when they can afford to upgrade,” says Alexander. “What is more, a fair number of southern suburbs people looking for a village atmosphere and a more rural lifestyle as well as the larger plots and homes that are often found in Durbanville, are now moving here.”
The growing affluence of residents in the area has also had an effect on its educational facilities, says Alexander.
“It was here that the first Curro School was established and today the area is said to have one of the highest concentration of schools in South Africa – 18 in all – including Durbanville Preparatory, Durbanville Primary, Eversdal Primary, Gene Louw Primary, Kenridge Primary, Chester House, El Shaddai Christian School and Reddam School.
Resident Kirsten Hopwood says: “Durbanville is one of the most beautiful suburbs in Cape Town where you actually feel relaxed and far removed from the busy city life, which is only 20 minutes away.
“The schools in the area are brilliant, and outdoor and recreational activities for both adults and kids are plentiful.”
Alexander says Durbanville’s perennial appeal has resulted in an influx of upper-income buyers for some time now: “According to analysts Lightstone, average family incomes here are in the R70000 to R90000 a month bracket, almost the highest category in South Africa today, and the area’s property prices rank it 30th among towns in South Africa, on roughly the same level as Somerset West and Simon’s Town.”
Median prices for freehold homes at Durbanville rose from R1.18million in 2007 to R2.2m in 2017 (thus far) and a staggering R2.8billion has been turned over in property sales in the past year.
Today, of the 23616 properties in Durbanville almost 60% are in gated estates, says Alexander.
“Some of the better-known ones are Clara Anna Fontein, Klein D’Aria, 23 Boland, 5th on Murray and Heerenzicht. Freehold homes in the area sell for between R3.5m and R30m.”
In the sectional title market, the average price over the past year has been R945000 and the price for vacant land has been R1.245m.
“Those who live here testify time and again that it offers a wonderful community-oriented, semi-rural lifestyle and a low crime rate coupled to top-rate educational, retail and entertainment facilities.”