21 Dec 2010
Areas that form part of the 'Gateway to the Garden Route' offer a lot of value for money for those people who are keen to buy a holiday home or a weekend retreat according to Jennifer Seggies of Pam Golding Properties’ Riversdale branch.
“Towns like Heidelberg, Witsand, Barrydale – on the border of the Little Karoo, or the Western Cape hamlets of Suurbraak and Vermaaklikheid provide excellent buying opportunities for people looking to buy something away from the city,” she says.
“While much of this area has yet to become as popular as places like Greyton – where house prices are considerably higher – this is set to change as people are prepared to move further from the cities to experience the affordable lifestyle that these country villages have to offer,” she says.
Property prices in these towns are apparently low with a four bedroom house in Heidelberg selling for just R495k and a property in Riversdale with rental income of R4k a month selling for R585k
“You can buy a fisherman’s cottage almost on the beach in Witsand for R655k and a five bedroom (all en suite) house in Barrydale for R825k,” she says.
Apparently more and more buyers are expressing interest in these off-the-beaten-track areas particularly as many of them are virtually crime- and stress-free environments.
“Comparable homes in the cities or popular holiday destinations sell for considerably more money but all indications are that that will change in the next few years,” Seggie says.
“We’re also seeing a steady increase in enquiries regarding lifestyle and commercial farms – again often associated with those retiring, or young families wanting to invest in a self-sustainable lifestyle,” says Seggie.
Located approximately halfway between Cape Town and George, these towns are all situated relatively close together, offering outdoor pursuits that include fishing, whale watching, water and sea sports, hiking or farming.
There is a thriving creative, cosmopolitan community in Barrydale where the Langeberg Mountains join the Little Karoo – an area which has an amazing variety of plants for nature lovers including mountain fynbos, patches of endangered renosterveld as well as succulent Karoo vegetation.
Located at the foot of the Sleeping Beauty mountain and known as the Floral Paradise of the Garden Route, Riversdale is just off the N2 highway between the Langeberg mountain range and the sea, easily accessible to Mossel Bay, George and close to surrounding seaside towns such as Stilbaai and Witsand.
It has a busy and expanding business centre with a cluster of large chain stores and banks. However, with a moderate climate and rainfall throughout the year, farming is the main industry of the area including dairy, cattle, wheat, grain, fruit, sheep, ostriches, export flower farms and honeybush tea production.
Houses in Riversdale include solid family homes, convenient lock-up-and-go units, historic Victorian homes and spacious smallholdings close to town, with prices ranging mainly from R400k to R2-million.
“A hidden gem just off the N2, Heidelberg’s main street comprises original old houses, many almost untouched since they were built. There’s the church, designed based on a church in Heidelberg, Germany, hence the name of the town. The original farmhouse around which the town has developed has been restored and this town offers exceptional value starting at prices of just R395k and ranging up to about R1-million for a large property in a treed garden of 3000 sqm,” she says.
Only 30km away is Witsand, a charming fishing village on the banks of the magnificent Breede River at San Sebastian Bay. It has 400 permanent residents and a two bedroom weekend getaway property is on the market for R850k.
There is also a three bedroom, two bathroom fishing bungalow with indoor braai priced at R655k.
Located on the popular R62 wine route in the fertile fruit-growing Tradouw valley, the vibrant village of Barrydale is the gateway to the Klein Karoo to the north and the Overberg to the south.
It is surrounded by the Warmwaterberg and Langeberg mountains, with the perennial Huis River running right through the village and natural springs in the area. Many of the elegant old homes in Barrydale were built with the fortunes acquired by the ostrich barons in the early 1900s, and there remains a large farming community today, although the village now attracts those from all walks of life, including artists and craftsmen, or those seeking business opportunities on this popular tourist route.
Homes in Barrydale range from restored cottagey nagmaal huisies to more modern Karoo style dwellings, and are on the market with prices starting at R600k.
“The homes are generally well maintained with beautiful gardens which often include fruit trees and grape vines with lei water dams and irrigation. Vineyards, sheep, cattle, horses, ducks and chickens form an appealing and integral part of the rural atmosphere of the village. There are resident artists, active clubs, excellent restaurants, craft shops and guesthouse establishments which all add to the unique make-up of this quaint village. There’s even the Barrydale Winery, which produces excellent wines and is world famous for its Joseph Barry Cape Pot Stilled Brandy. There are also several nature reserves in the vicinity which include the Big Five,” says Steggie.
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