Nestled in the centre of the Overberg District, at the foot of the Soetmuisberg, lies a little piece of history – a nearly two-century-old village called Napier. Previously overlooked in favour of better-known inland holiday destinations like Greyton, Montagu and McGregor, Napier has recently experienced a surge in property sales that suggests this dark horse is about to take centre stage.
“Napier has always been something of a hidden gem,” says Marthie Jones, the Rawson Property Group’s franchisee for the area, “but we’ve seen a big spike in interest over the last few years.” Jones attributes this increasing popularity to a combination of comparatively affordable property prices, and the wealth of natural beauty, historic architecture, activities and amenities that Napier has to offer.
Jones describes the village as a genuinely friendly, laid-back, wholesome and old-fashioned place, with the perfect blend of history and modern convenience. “You’ll find century-old cottages surrounded by lush, open land dotted with scratching chickens and grazing cows, and then a main street lined with great restaurants, coffee shops, antique stores and more,” she says. “Even the modern elements of Napier have a very down-to-earth, homey charm, which is definitely a large part of its appeal.”
According to Jones, the Napier community is also eclectic and unpretentious, comprising of everything from traditional, working-class farming families to artists, retirees, young nature-lovers and – of course – holiday-makers. “We’re seeing quite a lot of buyers at the moment who have decided to leave the big city life and either work from home in Napier or commute to Cape Town, Johannesburg, or neighbouring towns like Bredasdorp,” says Jones. “Our quiet, clean, safe lifestyle is a big attraction, and we have some excellent schools for young families wanting to raise their children in a more natural, farm-style environment.”
Jones estimates that around 80% of Napier’s properties are currently permanent residences, and 20% are holiday homes or short-term accommodation. She does predict some changes in that ratio in the near future, however, thanks to the popularity of vacation-friendly properties, particularly with Cape Town buyers. “We’re also seeing an increase in demand for short term rentals,” she says, “which is attractive for buy-to-let investors, and creates great opportunities for businesses like Mom-and-Pop-style bed and breakfasts all the way through to luxury boutique hotels.”
As for the types of properties available in the area, these vary from historic homes dating back to the late 1800s, to smallholdings ideal for self-sufficient living, commercial properties and vacant stands. The most popular parts of town include Reservoir and Jubileum Roads, Tamatiekraal and the area known as “Bo-Dorp”.
“At present, a small, one bedroomed cottage in Napier will cost you upwards of R800 000,” says Jones, “while the old, historic houses start at R1.4 million. Vacant stands can be had from R225 000, and smallholdings are available from R2.8 million.”
For buyers looking to get in on the action, Jones highly recommends acting sooner rather than later, as the comparatively affordable Napier prices are definitely increasing. “We’ve sold a lot of properties in the village in recent months, and stock is low, which means prices are going to be rising over the course of the year if the current levels of demand continue,” she says.
To find out more about Napier, why not book a weekend stay and take a stroll through its quaint and quirky streets. You’ll see for yourself why this tiny town is making such a big splash on the property scene, and who knows – maybe you’ll join the ranks of buyers snapping up a small piece of old-school, country living.