In the historic towns of the Karoo the discerning buyer can still find quaint old homesteads for under R350k.New life for Karoo's Uniondale2 adjoining Karoo cottages for saleReaders' Comments
Graced with an array of scenic, historic towns, each with its own unique character and located in diverse settings across several regions, the Karoo remains in strong demand among home owners. These platteland dorps boast historical homes and cottages of such diversity, beauty and abundance, that they continue to arouse interest from a broadening purchaser base which now includes a number of foreigners and more importantly, a burgeoning local market, comments Wayne Rubidge, Karoo area principal for Pam Golding Properties (PGP).
"Local citizens are increasingly acquiring property in their own towns, joining the movement for restoration and revitalisation of the Karoo's classic towns and culture. Over the past three years of sustained interest from a market that is ever-growing, the emerging Karoo property boom has already seen prices rise steadily. However, in catering for the ever increasing demand, particularly for affordable, well-priced homes, PGP Karoo has released 55 homes priced under R350k and 28 plots ranging from just R55k to less than R150k," says Rubidge.
The partnership between Pam Golding Karoo and the Nama Karoo Foundation led to the establishment of the Karoo Architectural Network (KAN), through which investors are able to order a booklet sponsored by PGP Karoo entitled 'Restoring and Caring for Karoo Homes'. This booklet is already proving extremely popular among homeowners.
Rubidge says the trend of purchasing an affordable Karoo home is popular among a broad cross-section of buyers - including first time homeowners viewing it as an opportunity to acquire a sound property investment while they live and rent a home in the urban centres, as well as investors seeking a second home. "The latter are increasingly looking toward the Karoo as it provides an affordable option when compared with coastal property. Also gathering momentum is a trend among those who are drawn by the Karoo's enviable lifestyle and are ready to relocate permanently, having sold off their other home."
Rubidge says similarly a growing number of early retirees are moving to the Karoo for a combination of factors which include affordability - thereby enabling them to conserve their retirement funds, lifestyle appeal and sound long-term investment. This is coupled with the fact that many of the towns provide all amenities and services, with a good infrastructure.
"Quite often our buyers purchase more than one property to enable them to restore the one while they live in the other - simultaneously reaping the benefits of a sound investment while they complete the renovation process. A further spin-off is that this provides a purchase opportunity for those who do not wish to undertake any restoration or renovation themselves, as they can buy a restored, ready to move in classic Karoo home for around R350 000. Besides the affordable Karoo homes the high end of the market is booming with many towns recording sales in excess of R1 million," he adds.
The towns where homes are available priced under R350k are mainly situated in the largest and least populated province - the Northern Cape - with the main featured towns here being, among others, Britstown, Carnarvon, Philipstown, Richmond, Hanover, Strydenburg and Victoria West. Eastern Cape towns with affordable property opportunities are Aberdeen, Willowmore and Lady Grey. In the Southern Orange Free State towns such as Bethulie, Philippolis, Rouxville and Smith field also offer affordable options.
Says Rubidge: "The Northern Cape is full of unexplored Karoo towns with a great architectural heritage. The town with the most affordable homes would be Carnarvon and demand for historical homes is increasing in this growing service town. The town is soon to be the centre for the development of the international SKA telescope should South Africa win the rights over Australia and South America. Carnarvon is also popular as a winter Springbok hunting destination and a number of hunters have cottages in the town. It's also popular among aeroplane enthusiasts due to its outstanding landing strip, sound infrastructure and great weather for flying, with the annual PGP sponsored Carnarvon Fly-In being one of the town's most acclaimed events. In regard to vacant stands, Philipstown and other similar towns still have well located plots, with views over the koppies and the Karoo, for under R60 000, which are rapidly being snapped up due to their being bargain-priced entry level investments," he says.
Photos: These two Karoo houses are both on the market at below R350k.
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