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Franschhoek: Dreams of France

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Fabulous Franschhoek offers some of the country's top real estate, with wine farms, world-class homes, restaurants, charming boutiques and gorgeous mountain views.

With its excellent cuisine, fine wines, breathtaking scenery and historical landmarks, Franschhoek – founded by the French Huguenots in 1688 – is truly one of the most gorgeous valleys in the Western Cape.

Although it is easily perceived as a destination for wealthy buyers, which is borne out by the following statistics, it can offer some surprisingly affordable property options for anyone looking for a country retreat, weekend home, hospitality investment, or a home in a smallish community where the neighbours know your name but you can still go out to a super-stylish restaurant for a world-class dinner.

Places of interest and things to do in Franschhoek

According to New World Wealth, the Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch area is the fastest-growing South African locality for high net worth individuals (net assets more than $1 million), with the ultra-wealthy population in the area growing by 48% during the past decade (2006 – 2016). 

There were estimated to be 3 000 high net worth people in the area this year. Franschhoek therefore continues to attract top-end local and foreign buyers, say Doug Gurr and Jeanine Allen, Pam Golding Properties agents. 

The semigration trend that has seen buyers from Gauteng and other parts of the country acquiring property in the Western Cape – either to relocate or as a second residence with an ultimate view to retirement – has also been evident in Franschhoek, where many of the buyers are from upcountry, say Gurr and Allen. 

A range of property options are available, from entry level two-bedroom apartments at about R2.5m, to village and estate homes from R5m to R30m, and boutique smallholdings and farms from R15m to R75m. “Entry level apartments are very popular as are mid-range free-standing houses of between R5m and R8m,” say Gurr and Allen. Homes on secure lifestyle estates, such as Fransche Hoek Estate, La Petite Provence and Deltacrest, are in high demand. 

Given that Franschhoek is a perennial favourite with visitors and families relocating from other parts of the country, the area also has a strong rental market. Owning or renting property in this historical town puts the resident in the centre of one of South Africa’s premier culinary destinations. 

“Buying interest is strong and we feel the prices will continue rising, along with demand,” say Gurr and Allen. The area is also experiencing a shift in the quality of properties to world-class luxury homes, that are complemented by an equal standard of the lifestyle the region offers.

Currently there is a seven-bedroom home listed for R69m and a 10-bedroom house for R45m. At the other end of the market is a two-bedroom home for R2.6m. 

Vacant land is available for upwards of R1.6m for 450m². Pam Golding Properties also has a boutique wine farm of 18.4 hectares for R40m. 

According to Lightstone, the median price of apartments has increased from R1.8m in 2010 to R2.16m this year. 

In addition to its rich historical ambience and vast beauty, Franschhoek appeals to families because of the many schools in the area, and Stellenbosch University is a convenient drive away. 

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