30 Jan 2013
The matric results highlight the significance of choosing a school for one’s children as a factor influencing family buyers when selecting a home.
Pam Golding Properties (PGP) says the Western Cape’s sustained academic results as one of the top two performing provinces in South Africa strengthens its popularity with families who want to settle their children in a stable educational environment.
The list of top-performing schools in the Western Cape shows a range of high-achieving facilities, including new and old, private and public institutions, in a wide variety of suburbs and towns. PGP’s MD for the Western Cape metro region, Laurie Wener says this emphasises the broad choice of private and government schools available to family buyers in the property market at present.
The list of top 20 schools (based on the 2012 matric results) includes 14 schools in Cape Town, plus another six in the Boland region. The province’s top five schools were located in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, which had a total of eight institutions on the top 20 list. Other areas included Stellenbosch with four schools in the top 20, Bellville with three and the City Bowl with two, as well as the Western Seaboard, Somerset West and Paarl.
Wener says the market sector that has school-going children or undergraduate university students are driven to find homes, which give them entrance and easy access to preferred schools. She says it is a major factor in their final purchasing decision and in areas such as Rondebosch, Newlands and the City Bowl, the residential market is strongly influenced by the area schools.
"There is no doubt that competition for places at these top institutions is fierce, and that buyers may well be prepared to compromise on other features of their home, just to be closer to the preferred school," she says. This also has an impact on pricing, as it ensures sustained demand and good re-sale prospects, as well as reducing supply and turnover because if a buyer has bought a house in order to be close to a school, they are likely to be long-term residents until their children have completed their education.
There are similar factors influencing the market in the Boland and Overberg regions, where PGP’s MD Annien Borg says tradition and family history play a significant role. She says a large percentage of their buyers are families with school-going children or those moving on to Stellenbosch University. Many of them grew up in the area and want their children to attend the same schools that they did because of their reputation for academic and sporting achievement, she says. "We also see some parents who live further away from the major centres, buying smaller properties in town to use when they visit their children at school, or even to stay in during the week while going home to their primary residence over weekends.”
While some of the smaller outlying towns appear under-serviced in terms of schools, Borg says they are becoming viable options for family buyers due to the opening up of new private schools and the establishment of regular transport services into the larger towns. She says it is possible to live in a village like McGregor, Greyton, or Riebeeck-Kasteel, and commute to the schools in neighbouring larger towns, such as Malmesbury, Caledon and Robertson.
Wener says the provincial government’s three-year infrastructure plan for education will boost the educational offering in the Western Cape, and the number of areas able to attract family buyers. “Education MEC Donald Grant announced in October last year (2012) that the province would be building 72 schools over the next three years – 46 of these being replacements for existing schools, and 26 being brand new institutions."
Areas benefiting from the new schools include Kuils River, Hout Bay, Mitchells Plain, Durbanville, Brackenfell and Strand and there will be investment in more than a hundred new Grade R classrooms. Wener hopes it will be mirrored in the pre-school environment, as some areas still lack good quality schooling and after-care facilities for younger children. "One also hopes that public transport plans will integrate well with this investment, allowing parents to get their children to school with ease.”
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