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Living la vida in country homes

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31 May 2012

If you are tired of the hustle and bustle of the city, traffic congestion and fuel hikes, perhaps it’s time to buy property in the country.

Karoo-style farmhouse at Eureka, a 1800ha lifestyle farm adjacent to Compassberg and close to the picturesque village of Nieu Bethesda, is selling for R7.5 million through Pam Golding Properties.

Estate agents report an increase in country property with buyers seeking tranquillity and value for money.

They note that in many country locations, properties are reasonably priced to suit all pockets, and most importantly, some of these buyers are purchasing country homes with a view to retire in later in life.

Take the Karoo for example -  this location is described as a good investment area for an investor seeking good value for money, retirement location and lifestyle.

According to Pam Golding Properties (PGP) Wayne Rubidge, area manager in the Karoo, investing in the country generally refers to an investment in a house or a business in a small country or rural town.

In recent years many country or platteland towns have seen an upsurge in property sales, renovations and prices.

He explains that initially the trend to invest in more rural areas mostly occurred in areas within the immediate vicinity of the major cities.

Buyers are also eyeing larger coastal areas and cities where space has become a premium and people are prepared to travel further to reach the wider, open spaces of the country where they can relax and get in touch with nature.

He points out that the ‘country’ means anywhere in South Africa’s rural areas offering a wide selection including retirement options, relocation, first time homeowners and the burgeoning buy to rent market in the larger country towns.

In many of these areas prices for homes still start at around R250 000.

“While a country lifestyle means different things to different people, it certainly offers something for everyone.”

Rubidge says in the Cape Province hotspot ‘lifestyle’ rural areas include the Klein Karoo - inland from the Garden Route and the Eastern Cape coast, and the Great Karoo.

Horse lovers can buy this 4.3ha equestrian estate situated in Gonubie in East London for R7.95 million through Seeff Properties.

In previous years buyers have been prepared to pay for a lifestyle farm priced below R3 million and today this price bracket remains popular with some paying as much as R10 million, he says.

For horse lovers, the Eastern Cape has some amazing properties in the suburb of Gonubie in East London.

Seeff East London licensee, Taki Kondylis says horse lovers are looking at fully functioning equestrian estates and the Eastern Cape has been a popular equine area throughout history.

The first gymkhana club in the country was established in the region and the first riding school was established in the area in 1931 by a retired Magistrate who owned five or six horses and hired them out to holidaymakers at twenty-five cents a day, he says.

The coastal and country villages of the Eastern Cape offer untapped potential and are increasingly luring big city buyers, says Seeff Licensee for the area, Simon Oliver.

In the smaller coastal village of Kenton-on-Sea, properties are priced between R350 000 and R620 000 for a plot with partial sea views.

Located between Port Elizabeth and East London, along the R72 Sunshine Coast Route, the area stretches from Kleinmonde in the east to Alexandria in the west and includes the villages of Port Alfred and Kenton-on-Sea and the inland towns of Salem and Bathurst.

Oliver says property options vary from quaint, inland family homes to stunning sea and river view townhouses and houses, lifestyle farms and smallholdings.

Prices are also still relatively affordable for a coastal setting, particularly in Port Alfred with vacant plots priced from around R300 000 and small homes around R800 000.

Holiday townhouses range from R680 000 to around R1.5 million for partial river or sea views while retirement village homes are priced around R750 000.

Buyers looking for a large family home can expect to pay between R2 million and R3 million, but river bank and Marina homes are priced well above this and can range up to between R4.1 million and R7.5 million, he says.

The area is popular for holiday home buyers from the Eastern Cape and inland parts of the Western and Northern Cape, the central location makes it accessible within a few hours from inland provinces such as the Free State, KZN and Gauteng.

In the smaller coastal village of Kenton-on-Sea, properties are priced between R350 000 and R620 000 for a plot with partial sea views.

Sought after river-view homes start at about R4.5 million and range up to R11.9 million for a large 650 square metre home with private river access, he adds. – Denise Mhlanga

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