Over the past 10 years, billions of rands worth of new estates and residential developments have been built around the Hartbeespoort Dam, and this inland riviera has steadily become a favoured weekend and holiday retreat for many of Gauteng’s wealthiest citizens.
Thanks to extensive road upgrades, that means it is now less than an hour’s drive to Sandton, there is also a growing resident population, and to meet their needs as well as the thousands of visitors and tourists that flock to the dam every month, there have also been many new commercial and leisure developments.
Indeed, says Chevonne Rees, the local Rawson Property Group franchisee, “Harties” has blossomed from a country village into a fully-fledged small town, complete with shopping centres, schools and civic facilities as well as a cornucopia of craft and food markets, art galleries and studios, restaurants, guesthouses, tourist attractions and adventure activities.
“However, there is also a thriving community of resident artists, crafters, writers and other creative people here, and the town has not lost the friendly and relaxed holiday atmosphere it has always enjoyed.”
Of course the big attraction for most of those buying property here has always been the water and the opportunity to enjoy yachting, windsurfing, water-skiing and other water-sports as well as the magnificent sunsets, she says. “This is what has made it a sought-after leisure destination for many decades, with many affluent residents of Pretoria and Johannesburg now enjoying the lavish holiday homes that their parents built overlooking the dam in suburbs such as Meerhof, Ifafi, Schoemansville, Melodie and Kosmos. These freehold mansions can now sell for as much as R8 million and guesthouses with spectacular views for up to about R15 million.”
However, there are now many other drawcards too, including the opportunity for those looking to escape the crime-and-grime of the city permanently to enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle with their families in the secure environment provided by one of the many access-controlled golf, nature and lifestyle estates that have since been developed all around the dam. Some of the most popular are Pecanwood, Leloko, Xanadu, Birdwood, The Islands, Westlake and Caribbean Beach Club, as well as the iconic Estate d’Afrique.
“In the past few years,” Rees says, “we have seen hundreds of families ‘semigrate’ to this area because it is so peaceful – and because it is only a 45 to 60-minute drive for those who have to commute to offices in Sandton or Pretoria on the N4 freeway or the upgraded R511″.
“And their decision has been made much so easier by the establishment of several private schools such as Peaconwood College, the Mountain Cambridge School and PLG Hartebeespoort to complement the excellent government schools here, as well as the development of two modern shopping centres (Village Mall and Sediba Plaza) and the growing use of technology that makes it easy for people to work from home most of the time. In fact, several estates including Xanadu and Leloko Eco Estate have been specifically designed as ‘smart’ developments to accommodate this lifestyle.”
She says another factor that is important to many buyers is the opportunity to buy a beautiful stand that has already been rezoned and build an estate home of their own choice and design – “although there is also a very wide range of other choices on offer here, including beautiful modern apartments and townhouses at prices from around R650 000 for two bedroom, two bathroom units; suburban family homes at prices from around R1.1 million and building packages in secure estates at prices from around R1,2 million for three bedroom, two bathroom homes”.
Stand prices in Leloko, on the north-west corner of the dam, start from as little as R256 500 for 770sqm, while those for three bedroom, two bathroom homes start at around R1,6 million and the highest price currently being advertised for a 500sqm luxury home is R3,9 million.
“Then to the south of the dam, in the sought-after Westlake Country and Safari Estate, stand prices start at around R400 000 for almost 800sqm and range up to around R2,5 million for those right on the waterfront, while prices for luxury three and four-bedroom homes start at around R2,5 million.”
There are very few stands left in the well-established Pecanwood Golf Estate, and prices here are accordingly higher, Rees notes, starting at around R650 000 and ranging up to around R1,2 million for around 500sqm+, while prices for the luxury homes on and around the manicured golf course range from around R2,2 million all the way up to around R25 million.The estate nevertheless remains sought-after among families wishing to relocate permanently, as it has a private school and crèche right on the doorstep.
“For those who prefer to be closer to the town centre and the shops, there are stands of around 800sqm for around R400 000 available in the Xanadu Eco Park which is just off the R511 linking Hartbeespoort to Fourways, and also has its own school as well as three and four bedroom townhouses from around R1,3 million and freehold homes from around R2,2 million to just under R10 million.”
Hartbeespoort also has much to offer retirees, she says, as well as the increasing number of empty-nesters who are looking to downscale and enjoy life more even though they are still working or running a business. “There are many developments specifically aimed at the over-50s here and we have just learnt that the town will soon also have a 130-bed private hospital specialising in cardiology and orthopaedics, which will make it even more attractive to many buyers.