Somerset West is the commercial capital of the Helderberg Basin. Situated on the slopes of the Helderberg, the town, which was named after Lord Charles Somerset in 1819, has long been a desirable area in which to live. Long before the Governor of the Cape Willem Adriaan van der Stel established the impressive estate Vergelegen in 1708, the immediate coastal area had been inhabited by Strandlopers. Following his return to Holland in disgrace on corruption charges the estate was subdivided into smaller farms and eventually a church, surrounded by a village was established in 1819.
Somerset West is close to the resort towns of Strand and Gordons Bay yet falls within the greater Stellenbosch wine route. The Helderberg Wine Route has world famous wine farms amongst its 25 members like Vergelegen, Morgenster and even a brewery. It is an area of great natural and scenic beauty where the Helderberg Nature Reserve for example covers over 245 hectares and is a bird lovers paradise with fynbos and trails which offer stunning views over False Bay to Cape Point.
Somerset West has many sporting amenities with the magnificent Erinvale golf course possibly being the premier attraction. A round up of the following tidbits more than substantiates why Somerset West is an exciting place to live.
Helderberg is drawing first-time buyers, many of whom are young professionals and couples with small children who are buying in the R800 000 to R1,5m range. Townhouses are popular among this group than houses, the market is buoyed by people who want to buy in Somerset West and commute to Stellenbosch for work as property in Somerset West is cheaper than in Stellenbosch.
Industry and property development has transformed the character and personality of Somerset West in recent years from an area once famed for being perfect for those wanting to retire in serene comfort to a cosmopolitan population and lifestyle attractive to all age groups. Young families, entrepreneurs and all-round go getters are increasingly attracted to the area thanks to the growth of local industry and employment as well excellent schools, both private and government. House prices have done well and enjoyed an increase in values of between 25% - 30% over the past few years. The growth of commercial shopping malls and the development of new clusters or gated villages have increased the number of people who are able to live in and around the basin.
Entry-level homes start at around R700 000 for a two- to three-bedroomed unit in one of the newer areas such as Heritage Park, while houses in the more established part of Somerset West range from R1,5m up to R3m, depending on the area and accommodation. Luxury homes in Spanish Farm and Erinvale Golf Estate sell for between R4 000 000 and R20 000 000.
Somerset West is also seen as a commercial hotspot http://www.property24.com/articles/somerset-west-a-commercial-hotspot/10253 and the area has been drawing a steady number of commercial property investors in recent years. In October a new development outside Somerset West was launched. Known as Omwieco, the developers plan to build a sustainable estate that provides excellent security but is able to create a completely mixed-use environment so that people will not need to venture outside the estate.
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