08 Nov 2012
The village of Franschhoek is close to the city and surrounded by towering mountains and rolling vineyards that include some of finest wine estates such as La Motte and L’Ormarins.
Seeff licensee for the area, Pierre Germishuys, says a number of things make it the jewel of the winelands. Le Quartier Francais and La Provence are regarded as some of the finest accommodation establishments in the country and the village is home to some top ranked restaurants with chefs such as Reuben Riffel and Margot Janse residing in the village. The exclusive Bridge House Private School is also regarded as one of the finest.
The village has an avant-garde French chic feel about it and aside from its world-renowned eateries, there are fine art and décor stores. Not surprisingly, it was ranked as one of the top 10 property investment destinations in the world by The Telegraph, UK last year.
While property prices practically doubled between 2004 and 2008, prices have since settled as a result of subdued demand. Germishuys says this has benefited South African buyers as it has created an opportunity to buy here and South African buyers have taken advantage of the favourable conditions.
While there is still demand from foreign buyers, about 90 percent of the 69 properties to the value of close to R150 million sold by Seeff in the last year, were bought by local buyers, including Johannesburg buyers. UK and European buyers have mostly opted for cottages priced between R3 and R3.8 million, he says.
Local buyers, especially from Johannesburg, have snapped up homes at slightly higher prices. These include two L’Avenue Estate homes that sold between R5 million and R7 million and three houses in Domaine des Ange Street that sold for between R4.4 million and R6.5 million.
Land sales have started to pick up on the back of improved market sentiment with vacant plots selling in the Fransche Hoek Estate for R1.6 million per plot, says agent Melina Visser.
She says although you may be hard-pressed to find a property in sought-after Cabriere Street, just off the main road, where for under R5 million, there are plenty of exceptional buys on offer such as a three bedroom cottage in the heart of the village that is priced at R2.5 million.
At the top end, an exceptional buy is Mayflower Cottage, a historic home that dates to around 1860, says Visser. Priced at R9.8 million, the home was renovated and historically restored. The work was done by well-known architect, Jenny Mills while internationally renowned landscape architect, Ann Sutton was responsible for the gardens.
The home has three bedrooms and open-plan living rooms that include a lounge with a fireplace, a dining room, library and study that opens onto a private courtyard with a herb garden. The French-styled kitchen has a separate pantry and wine cellar and a large veranda overlooks the garden and swimming pool. There is also a separate cottage set in the garden.
There are a number of exclusive security estates in and around the village that offer luxury homes, priced upwards from R6 million, says Visser. Yet another property option for those with the budget are lifestyle farms. These are around 20ha with vineyards or orchards, luxury residences and often with additional income-producing cottages and cost upwards of around R20 million.
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