Buying bush and farm property in SA

27 Mar 2012

Estate agents report an increase in people buying luxury properties in bush and lifestyle farms, as they offer more than a roof over one's head.

This is the second large house on the property that has guest house rights. Thali Thali game farm on the West Coast is selling for R17.9 million through the Benguela Group.

The Benguela Group says on the West Coast, Thali Thali is a sought-after location on a farm known as Zoutekuylen.

It measures 1 460ha running down the R27 and inlands towards Hopefield.

Heinrich Koorts, chief executive officer of Benguela Group, says this property includes a manor house, guest house, self-catering cottages and luxury tented accommodation, all equipped to the highest standards.

Rode valuation had valued this property at just under R26 million, it is selling for R17.9 million.

He says the game farm is an hour’s drive from Cape Town, an hour and 15 minutes from Cape Town International Airport and 10 minutes from Saldanha Airport.

“People want to get away from everything and be on a game farm where they don’t see or hear anything intrusive,” says Koorts.

The main house has five bedrooms, a second house on the property has four bedrooms and there are eight self-catering units.

The farm borders the West Coast National Park and is part of the Cape West Coast Biosphere.

Thali Thali has rich business development potential with South Africans making up 70 percent of visitors and foreigners 30 percent, he adds.

Koorts says Gauteng buyers escaping the hustle and bustle of the province are snapping up farms on the West Coast.

In January, a 986 hectare farm with game, livestock and wheat, situated between Velddrif and Langebaan was sold to a Gauteng businessman for R9 million.

Benguela Group is selling a 10 ha lifestyle farm situated between Paternoster and Vredenburg for R3.3 million.

The buyer bought it lock, stock and barrel to continue farming.

In December, a 741ha farm located between Langebaan and Yzerfontein was sold to the Parks board for R3.65 million and this will be expanded to the West Coast National Park.

All of the farm sales were cash buys from high net worth individuals coming from Limpopo, North West and Gauteng, he says.

According to agricultural property expert at the Benguela Group, J. N. Loubser, these buyers are said to have sold their farms elsewhere for around R10 million and are looking to buy on the West Coast for about R5 million.

They often also buy a house in Langebaan or Paternoster. The majority of these buyers are aged over 45 and are looking to scale down on their farming activity in the run up to retirement.

Loubser says buyers looking for lifestyle farms on the West Coast are mainly from Cape Town, Paarl, Stellenbosch and the Boland

“Lifestyle farms are much smaller, between 10 and 100 hectares and are mainly used to plant their own food crops.”

Buyers are going green to try and be self-sufficient and supply their own food and veggies, and sometimes keep a few sheep or cattle.

Depending on the infrastructure on the farm, these are priced between R1.5 million and R3.5 million.

Loubser notes that farms on the West Coast cost around R4 000 and R7 500 per hectare for wheat and cattle farms.

Priced at R3 million, this secluded home situated on a one hectare stand in a private game reserve, offers stunning views of the Olifants River and mountains.

In the Swartland and Malmesbury area, they cost between R20 000 and R30 000 per hectare.

RE/MAX says Hoedspruit remains a sought-after node for property investors whether it’s a holiday home in the bush or a luxury home.

Annie van den Berg, broker/owner of RE/MAX Wildlife Properties, says Hoedspruit is perfect for investors looking for an out-of-town bush experience, while still enjoying the amenities they could take advantage of in a metropolitan area.

Most buyers are purchasing property as a home away from home and others include single mothers, young families, retirees and internationals who share a love of the African bushveld.

The town borders the Kruger National Park, which is always a draw card for tourism, ensuring that investors will see a good return on their investment if they decide to sell. Alternatively, there is always the opportunity to rent the property out to other holidaymakers.

“Bushveld properties, riverfront properties and those closest to the Kruger National Park are likely to see the largest value growth over the next few years.”

The rustic qualities of Hoedspruit and the bushveld environment have fuelled the demand for property in the region, which has continued to grow from strength to strength over the past few years. 

Van den Berg says the majority of the buyers in the area are affluent leisure investors and homes that are under the R2 million mark are generally more sought-after than the higher priced properties.

Pam Golding Properties (PGP) reports that a landmark property in the Noordhoek Valley has come onto the market and buyers will acquire the smallholding and custody of the largest breeding ground in the province for the endangered Western Leopard Toad. 

Springvale property in the Noordhoek Valley occupies around 16 000 square metres on the slopes of the Dassenberg mountain range and is selling for R15 million through Pam Golding Properties.

Springvale occupies around 16 000 square metres on the slopes of the Dassenberg mountain range and includes two spring-fed dams, a main homestead and fully renovated guest cottage. 

The property is selling for R9.15 million, says PGP area manager for the South Peninsula, Sandi Gildenhuys.

She says the Western Leopard Toad is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Research due to its extremely limited habitat.

“The toad is found only here in Cape Town and in a small area of the Southern Cape around Agulhas.”

Gildenhuys says the property has abundant birdlife including a resident owl, and substantial fish populations in its two dams. 

It is described as an ideal home for a large family of nature-lovers, or for artists wanting a quiet retreat that is still within reach of city amenities. 

Alternatively, it might be of interest to corporate buyers who could convert this into a private venue for their client functions and staff events.

If you had bought a Karoo farm in the last 15 years and had a good land management policy, you have probably had a rewarding investment as the capital appreciation of a sustainable Karoo farm has generally been excellent.

This is according to Wayne Rubidge, PGP area manager in the Karoo.

He says over the same period, if you had bought quality sheep or cattle, certain species of game, or goats for the farm, the current income from produce from these animals could not have been better.

As an example, the wool price is up to 60 percent higher than it was 18 months ago and wool and mohair grown in the Karoo is among the most sought after in the world, with many European buyers competing for the type of wool produced in the Karoo.

Rubidge says while owning a home or a getaway investment in the Karoo remains a popular choice for investors, owning a farm in the Karoo generally requires a much larger investment, yet remains a good value proposition when compared to many other parts of South Africa.

Located close to the village of Nieu Bethesda and Graaff-Reinet in the Karoo midlands, this lifestyle farm of almost 3 000ha is selling for R13.2 million through Pam Golding Properties.

He explains that the traditional method of valuing Karoo farms being rands per hectare based on the carrying capacity of the property, still remains an important indicator of the price a buyer will pay for a Karoo livestock farm. 

“Increasingly the lifestyle premium attached to many Karoo farms is also important as often buyers are drawn to investing in the Karoo’s agricultural sector due to the extensive nature of farming in this region.”

He says while not all Karoo farming is extensive, the Karoo as a region spans four provinces (Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Province and Free State) and incorporates many rivers with large irrigation schemes.

The biggest is the Orange River Irrigation Scheme mostly situated in the Northern Cape, making it one of the country’s top food baskets.

Like other irrigation schemes such as the Fish and Sundays River, prices for scheduled irrigation have increased substantially in the last three years and even doubled in many areas.

Ground sells for between R70 000 to R120 000 per hectare on the Orange River.

Rubidge says with growing interest in niche farms, which used to be represented by horse breeders, but due to the mineral-rich water and soils, many new farming activities are taking place in the Karoo from breeding indigenous livestock such as Afrikander sheep to growing berries, olives and nuts.

Also of increasing importance and attracting new visitors is the special brand of Karoo safari tourism which is emerging.

He adds that this has seen farm stays enjoying higher occupancies than many well established accommodation businesses in the towns. – Denise Mhlanga

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