With the rand at current levels, most families could not emigrate from SA now even if they wanted to – but “edugration” is a huge and growing trend as parents change suburbs and even cities within SA to get into the feeder areas for top-rated schools.
“And this has major implications for the property market in those areas,” says Clinton Krouse, principal of Chas Everitt International in East London – a city that enjoys a reputation as a centre of excellence when it comes to both public and private education and is currently a beneficiary of quite large scale “edugration”.
“There is huge demand for places in top schools around the country, which has resulted in most of them having to limit their intake to learners from their immediate catchment areas – unless they are term-boarders,” he says. “So the number of parents keen to find homes in these areas keeps increasing, and because the existing residents tend to want to stay put for around 15 to 20 years, there is usually an under supply that supports continuous price growth”.
Krouse says the East London suburbs most affected by the “edugration” trend are Selborne, which is home to the Clarendon girls’ schools and Selborne boys’ schools; Vincent, where the Hudson Park schools and Port Rex Technical are located; Stirling; and Beacon Bay, which has the Beaconhurst and Merrifield schools.
“Demand in these areas has been robust in recent years, he says, and properties close to the most sought-after schools usually sell for more than similar homes in other locations. Nevertheless, they are still more affordable, especially for young families, than the prime school areas in SA’s bigger cities, and we find that many of our prospective buyers these days are actually from out of town.”
East London does of course have a very long history and tradition of providing top-notch secondary education, he notes, with many of SA’s top executives, professionals and sportsmen having attended high school here, often as boarders whose families actually lived in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and even as far away as Zimbabwe or Zambia.
“But many of the most renowned local high schools also have companion primary or preparatory schools, and that is proving to be another attraction for young parents from around the country who might otherwise not have considered moving to East London – or been able to discover the great lifestyle it offers in addition to excellent schooling.”
Set between the Buffalo and Nahoon rivers on the shores of the Indian Ocean, East London is known as SA’s most relaxed city. It boasts some of the country’s best beaches, and great weather that makes it possible to enjoy swimming, sailing, skiing and surfing almost all year round. It is also well-supplied with public transport, shopping malls and modern medical facilities, and has several excellent golf courses. For those who need to travel for business, there are good road links to Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Durban, and several flights a day to these cities from East London Airport.