Must-buy Older Historic Properties

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26 Mar 2012

Older and historic homes in Johannesburg and Cape Town are increasingly making a comeback, packed with value and luxury which buyers are after.

This landmark home in Seaforth, Simon’s Town, dates back over 140 years. It has been fully renovated to modern standards of living and is selling for R12 995 million through Pam Golding Properties.

Pam Golding Properties (PGP) reports that one of the oldest homes in Simon’s Town, with a 140 year-old history is up for grabs.

Buyers should not be put off by age, if anything, this 1 000 square metre stone house in the suburb of Seaforth offers more modern comfort than Victorian frugality, normally found in such old homes.

The property is on the market at R12.995 million.

PGP area manager for the South Peninsula, Sandi Gildenhuys says the home traces its history back to approximately 1870, when it was built as a single-storey residence for the town’s first pharmacist, Mr Miller. 

She explains that at the time, Simon’s Town was rapidly growing as people flocked to the town seeking work associated with the British Royal Navy Base.

Miller acquired a prime location for his home – but even he might not have foreseen that the area would become perhaps the most prestigious suburb in the town, known for its fine family homes, sizable plots, attractive walks, beaches and views.

A second storey was added to the home in 1925 and the current owners purchased the property in 2001

They renovated it restoring the home to its original floor plan while remodelling the interiors to modern standards of living.

With approximately 500 square metres of living space, five bedrooms, five reception areas, its interior features reflect the home’s lengthy history, high ceilings, Oregon pine floors, sash windows and original Victorian fireplaces.

PGP says they anticipate that the property will hold great appeal for an upmarket family, possibly relocating from up-country or even an international buyer seeking a truly unique summer home.

In Johannesburg, an old stone house in Parkmore built just after the Second World War which was saved from demolition three years ago by the Parkmore community, has been restored and is back on the market.
Jonathan Davies, PGP joint area manager for Hyde Park office says the stone house, as it is commonly known, is an original old Parkmore farmhouse built from locally sourced sandstone.

An old stone house in Parkmore, Johannesburg built just after the Second World War and saved from demolition three years ago is on the market for R3.9 million.

Situated on the Riverclub border, the home is selling for R3.9 million.

Although the stone farmhouse was not old enough to be protected as a National Heritage site, the community felt it was well worth preserving, as it was one of the original homes in the area and a much-loved landmark, says Davies.
The home and its garden have been beautifully restored in line with expert guidance obtained from the Heritage and Historic Foundation.
It has been re-styled into an eclectic mix of the old and the modern, with high ceilings, a 1940s corrugated iron roof and solid teak floors.

The garden cottage is ideal for renting out or for staff.

Davies believes the refurbished three bedroom house will appeal to a buyer who appreciates its earthy homeliness and enjoys living in a home steeped in nostalgia.

“Parkmore has only a small handful of these old farm homes and their heritage gives such character to the area,” says Davies.

Bishopscourt in Cape Town is one of the city’s oldest and most prestigious areas, renowned for its elevated leafy location and grand homes set amid huge grounds.

Over the past decade, a number of properties have received significant facelifts - either through complete demolition of older homes to make way for new modern buildings or by extensive renovation and modernisation of the existing dwellings.

PGP reports that while there has been an upward trend in buyers seeking modern homes, the old grandes dames of the suburb are still highly sought-after and continue to attract significant interest from buyers.

PGP area manager for the Southern Suburbs, Howard Markham, says the large scale and classic designs of many of the suburb’s older homes ensure their enduring popularity, particularly with larger families and diplomatic buyers who need multiple bedrooms and substantial entertainment spaces. 

This family home in Bishopscourt in Cape Town occupies an elevated stand of over 3 500 square metre, with mountain views. Buy it for R19. 5 million

“In an area where vacant land is in very short supply and building costs are relatively high, there is always going to be sustained demand for older properties which can be bought and renovated.”

Apart from land which could feasibly become available through sub-division, Bishopscourt has just five vacant erven, which are currently on the market at prices between R10.5 million and R15.75 million. 

He says for most buyers it is far cheaper, easier and more practical to purchase an existing home, and then invest in modernising and redecorating to their own taste.

Sales have been quiet in Bishopscourt over the past year, with just eight properties changing hands across all agencies in 2011, at an average price of R15.38 million, according to Propstats.

The highest price ever achieved in the suburb was R40 million, for a home sold by PGP in December 2009.

Markham says current pricing sees an entry level for the suburb of around R10 million to R15 million for a relatively modest or older home.

Buyers in Bishopscourt are mainly Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal residents relocating to the Western Cape in search of a better family lifestyle.

For those leaving behind a large property in Bryanston or Sandhurst, for example, Bishopscourt is a first choice, and the difference Bishopscourt offers them is a mountain view added to the luxury home, he adds. –Denise Mhlanga

About the Author
Denise Mhlanga

Denise Mhlanga

Property journalist at

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