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Paarl: Pearl of the valley

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Set in natural beauty, Paarl offers a variety of housing stock, boutiques, restaurants and excellent schools, and is situated only around an hour from central Cape Town.

One of the oldest towns in the Western Cape, Paarl is about 60km from Cape Town’s CBD and renowned for viticulture and fruit-growing.

According to Paarl Tourism, the town – founded in 1687 – takes its name from the huge rounded granite outcrop that stands proudly on the crest of Paarl Mountain.

In terms of lifestyle, Paarl has restaurants and famous wine farms such as Nederburg and Fairview, outdoor pastimes like park runs and tracks for mountain biking and hiking, quality education and family activities for all ages.

Main Road in Paarl. The town is one of the oldest in the Western Cape.
Picture: Tracey Adams/ANA

Local Just Property franchisee, Jacques Basson, offers additional insights into this beautiful area. He is enthusiastic about the Paarl Arboretum, just minutes from the town’s busy centre, that spreads along nearly 3km of the eastern bank of the Berg River.

Nature-lovers would be interested to learn that the 2600 trees, representing some 650 varieties, are grouped according to their continents of origin.

The crown jewel in the Paarl property market crown is Val de Vie, which has been ranked as the top residential estate in South Africa for the past three years. Highlights of the estate include beautiful vineyards, polo fields, an equestrian centre, the acclaimed Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, natural fynbos scenery, parks, lakes and mountain views. Prices of houses and apartments on the estate range from R3million to R50m.

Large free-standing homes are set against the mountain as well as in the lower-lying
area. Photograph taken from Upper Auret Street. Picture: Tracey Adams/ANA

Basson notes the number of property sales in the town of Paarl closely compares with those within the estates. He says locals have seen what he calls a “semigration”, especially from Gauteng, and he believes this is largely because the town is home to several excellent private and government schools (with limited hostel space).

This view is supported by Lightstone data that shows 72% of buyers in the past year were under 49. Also, Paarl residents experience lower levels of crime than elsewhere in South Africa, and the town is less congested and more reasonably priced than neighbouring Stellenbosch.

Paarl property options extend beyond the exclusivity of estates like Val de Vie though. Basson highlights the corridor along the N1 towards Klapmuts, on the way to Cape Town, that has been earmarked by the Drakenstein municipality for development.

In the 12 months to August 2017, the highest activity levels in first-time registrations were in developed freehold property valued at less than R400000 – a total of 212 first-time registrations.

Basson expects this trend will continue into 2018 with newly developed properties coming on to the market along the N1 development corridor.

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