Property Flash


Guest piece by Better Bond

September 1 2023

Named as one of the world’s most affordable cities, Bloemfontein is rapidly becoming a popular destination for aspirant homeowners, Better Bond explains.

“According to the crowd-sourced database of comparative living costs,, the average cost of living for one person in Bloemfontein, including rent, is $644 (R12 274), which ranks it among the top 23% of least expensive cities in the world,” says Carl Coetzee, CEO of Better Bond. 

Lightstone property data shows that the Free State has the highest ratio of affordable properties of any SA province.

“With its favourable cost of living and accessible property prices, Bloemfontein has seen a boom in property sales in the past two years, with sectional title properties performing particularly well,” says Coetzee.

Property24 data shows that sectional title sale volumes have remained above 2 600 annually since 2021. This increased demand has pushed up the average sectional title sale prices from R750 000 in 2020 to R950 000 currently.

“Yet, compared with other regions, these prices are still competitive and appealing to particularly first-time buyers,” says Coetzee.

In Cape Town, the average sales price of a sectional title unit is currently R1.7m. Almost a third of buyers in Bloemfontein in the past year were between the ages of 18 and 35.

“Many of these buyers would benefit from the government’s R1.1m transfer duty threshold. Furthermore, buyers of properties in the many new developments coming into the market in Bloemfontein would also be exempt from paying transfer duties,” says Coetzee.

New developments, such as the Arcata Lifestyle Estate towards the east of the city, appeal to new buyers looking for low-maintenance properties with an array of lifestyle amenities.

Bloemfontein’s appealing lifestyle also makes it an attractive option for families. As much as 35.7% of buyers in the past year were between the ages of 36 and 49.

“Bloemfontein is the ideal city to raise a family and put down roots. Many families from other provinces, with children at top schools such as Grey College and St Andrews, buy property near the schools to use during term time,” says Coetzee. 

“Students who move to the province to study at the University of the Free State often buy their first properties in the area. “We are also seeing a growing interest in buy-to-let investment to meet the increased demand for student accommodation,” he says.

The Free State offers plenty of economic and employment opportunities, with the Free State Development Corporation providing support to small, medium and micro enterprises, manufacturing, trade and the promotion of investment. Two of the province’s characteristics are its contribution to South Africa’s staple food production and its location, sharing boundaries with six other provinces and the Kingdom of Lesotho. 

It also provides access for contractors to the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which captures, stores and releases water into the Vaal River system, supplying the industrial heartland of Gauteng. With a sharp decline in rail transport, the Free State has become a crucial hub for road freight, especially the Harrismith node on the N3, and the N8 corridor.

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