23 Nov 2012
Retirement and relocation buyers looking for a better quality of life are heading to the quiet country towns of the Overberg.
This is according to Seeff’s Southern Cape and Country managing director, Ian Badenhorst, who says towns such as Swellendam, Caledon and as far afield as Riviersonderend offer a secure, tranquil lifestyle with affordable residential and commercial property options and opportunity for business growth.
The Overberg region is just over an hour's drive from the city along the N2 and stretches to the coast, but the inland towns seem to be popular with retirees and buyers looking to relocate to the countryside, he says.
Sales in Swellendam, the largest of the Overberg towns, have been steady at about 70 units on average annually, over the past three years at an average price of between R800 000 and R900 000 respectively, demonstrating the affordability of homes.
The property market in Caledon reflects a similar trend over the past three years, with about 38 units selling annually at an average price of between R550 000 and R750 000.
In Riviersonderend, the number of annual unit sales is climbing somewhat and now averages around 20 units sold per annum, mostly on the back of demand for retirement homes and relocations. The average house price though is still affordable at between R450 000 and R650 000.
The attraction of the Overberg is obvious. Stunning mountains and valleys, abundant birdlife, fynbos and other vegetation, rolling farmlands, picturesque vineyards and orchards also surround the towns.
Good infrastructure and a real sense of community are also characteristic of the lifestyle on offer, say Swellendam agents, Val Anderton and Gwenet Constantinides.
“The growing urbanisation and fast pace of big-city life is also seeing more people looking to escape to the country to set up business in a less stressful environment. We have already sold 27 properties this year compared to 23 during the same period last year, more than 30 percent of which were to out of town buyers.”
The tourism growth into the countryside also opens up opportunities for would-be buyers to set up delis and eateries, interesting boutiques and other business. Even existing establishments are more affordable compared to the bigger urban areas, say the agents.
For example, currently on the market is fully furnished and equipped guest house in the heart of the town’s historic area with lovely views of the surrounding Langeberg Mountains.
The house has seven guest suites and shared facilities such a lounge and dining area, fully equipped kitchen, wine cellar, office and storage. It is secure and is set on a large plot of 1 807 square metres with beautiful gardens and a swimming pool and is on the market for R3.5 million.
In Caledon too, there are exciting development opportunities say agents, Barbara Jordaan and Nadia Smith. Surrounded by rolling Canola fields, the town occupies a fairly central position in the Overberg with quick access to nearby wine estates, farm stalls and even a chocolate factory.
It is also famous for its Caledon Spa and Casino.
A new mall is being built next to the N2, creating additional employment and retail opportunities and a new golf estate is also in the pipeline. Most residents work at SA Breweries, the municipality, Overberg Agri, Caledon Casino Hotel & Spa and the Department of Education.
Some of these workmen only stay for a couple of months, so the guest houses always have patrons and there is always a shortage of rental properties, especially close to the schools.
Consequently, the agents says there are a few good buy-to-let investment opportunities if one considers that apartment prices range between R550 000 and R630 000 and three and four bedroom homes between R650 000 and R1.1 million.
Hospitality establishments in the town are also doing well and offer excellent value for buyers and investors. A good example is a Tuscan-style guest house that is on the market for R1.8 million.
It is conveniently situated just off the main street and has seven guest suites that are rented out on a short and a long term basis at between R3 000 and R3 500 per month.
Riviersonderend is essentially a farming community and the town is growing in popularity with retirees primarily for its rural tranquillity and affordability, says agent, Ena Thomson.
"You certainly get more for your money with house prices that range between R460 000 and R800 000 for a spacious three bedroom home with beautiful views of the mountain and farmlands and vacant plots on offer for between R120 000 and R300 000." The town is also set to get its first block of flats soon, an exciting development for buyers looking for a low maintenance, lock-up-and-go home, she says.
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