While South Africans by nature enjoy the countryside, the demand for property in key country towns has risen notably over the last few years according to Ian Badenhorst, MD for Seeff Cape Country, Karoo and now also the Swartland.
Badenhorst says that in almost every small town across the Cape, agents are reporting that there is good interest. One of the key drivers, has been the excellent growth in demand for Western Cape property, driven by a mix of strong fundamentals such as good governance, an increase in semigration from other inland provinces and growing tourism that is bringing more people and attention to the countryside.
The effect of growing tourism has been excellent for the local towns. So much so, says Badenhorst, that is not just locals who are investing in property, but also upcountry buyers looking for a weekend escape, retirement property and also foreigners, especially those from the UK, Germany and other Northern European countries are now investing in small town property, especially lifestyle farms.
A recent news report from Western Cape Economic Opportunities MEC, Alan Winde confirms that tourism is a fast growing economic sector, now accounting for 9% of the country’s GDP. For the Western Cape in particular, it is a big economic pillar that drives jobs and further economic prosperity. To bring even more people to the Cape, a further 400,000 new two-way international airline seats have been added to make it easier to increase the tourism number.
“For the small towns located on the tourist routes, this is excellent news”, says Yolandi Bouwer, Seeff agent for Heidelberg, a town located on the N2 en-route to the Garden Route, just two and a half hour’s drive from Cape Town.
“Cape country towns are becoming very popular for older buyers especially those in their fifties who are looking for a quieter lifestyle, but even families and other professionals such as artists are making a move to the countryside. Towns situated close to the Cape metro are particularly sought-after”, says the agent.
Where a town such as Heidelberg might previously have been somewhat unknown, it is now increasingly catching the eye of buyers, she says. It sits on a popular tourist route and is very scenic given its location on the banks of the Duiwenhoks River and with the soaring Langeberg peaks forming a dramatic backdrop.
“It is an eco-tourist’s delight with plenty of bird life and wonderful nature to indulge in. It is also just a 30-minute drive from here to the coastal village of Witsand and is thus an ideal base for tourists. The town has a wonderful history and treasure of lovely old buildings and homes”.
“So, what can you invest in here right now? Those looking to capitalise on the tourist trade, are in for a real treat as the very popular Blue Crane Farm Shop and Restaurant is on the market”, says the agent. “It is situated on the N2 towards Heidelberg, thus a prime location for travellers and it is renowned for its home cooked meals and on-site bakery”.
The property includes a fully equipped farm shop and restaurant with seating for 80 people as well as a lovely outside area with plenty of trees and a children’s playground to enjoy a day out. Set apart from the restaurant, is a main farmhouse with three bedrooms and an adjoining flat, a swimming pool and a beautiful Nutec home with stunning views, quality finishes and a wrap around stoep with a Jacuzzi.
The entire property is in excellent condition, not a thing to be done, but move in and start operating, says the agent. You could even convert part of the property to a bed and breakfast. The land size is 1.47ha and there is municipal water and Eskom power. The property enjoys fabulous views of the surrounding countryside. It is on offer as a running concern with a full inventory and financials available and is priced at R4.5m plus VAT.
If you are just looking for a country house, then a rare 1870 historic home that is on the market for the first time in decades is an ideal find, says Ms Bouwer. This fabulous home is located in a convenient spot close to the high school and Post Office. The land is 4237sqm in extent and the property includes two cottages and thirteen garages.
The large homestead comes with five bedrooms, four bathrooms, two studies, a dining room, lounge with a fire place, large entertainment room, large kitchen with a sunny breakfast area, family room, also with a fireplace and built-in bar, sunroom and a braai room. Added features include two hot water cylinders, a generator and stand-by gas geyser for uninterrupted comfort. There is also a beautiful garden and swimming pool. The home is beautifully furnished with antique pieces, some of which are available for negotiation. The asking price is R2.75m.
Ms Bouwer says there are currently a handful of excellent opportunities on the market here at very affordable prices. Vacant land for example is priced from around R80 000-R400 000. Smaller houses start at about R500 000 and range to R1.2m while larger houses range to around R1.6m for a fabulous property that offers two double storey houses with eight bedrooms in total, a great option for a guest house.