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Bloem workers buy in rural areas

11 Jul 2008
With affordability of homes a key issue among many consumers, a trend has emerged whereby more people working in the Bloemfontein area are moving to the smaller platteland towns where homes are cheaper - and then commute to work.

Estie Oliver, area manager for Pam Golding Properties (PGP), says the platteland towns - about an hour's drive from Bloemfontein and an average of five hours' drive from Johannesburg - offer a very secure and relaxed lifestyle with access to medical facilities, churches and the like. She says most of these towns are very appealing with a historic background - especially those in the south-western Free State, while the south and south-eastern Free State towns are set in very scenic surrounds.

"We are finding that these platteland towns are experiencing a good demand for homes and increased sales mainly due to the fact that property is well priced and more affordable than in the metro regions. The average house price in these towns is between R150k and R500k. In addition to local buyers, we are also seeing growing interest from Gauteng and Cape buyers interested in picking up good deals in the platteland. These are mostly for weekend getaway properties which are sometimes rented out," she says.

Describing the type of homes available, she says an average two to three bedroom house on a stand of about 1,000sq m can be acquired for just R150k to R250k, an average three to four bedroom house on a large stand of 1,000 to 3,000sq m would fetch from R250k to R350k, while a desirable upmarket home with up to six bedrooms and attractive garden is priced from R350k to R550k.

Vacant stands vary from R30k to R150k depending on proximity to features such as rivers, mountains, dams etc. In some towns very large stands of just under a hectare in size are available, generally selling for around R500k, depending on location and condition.

Towns within a 60km to 80km radius of Bloemfontein include Dealesville, known for its farming community, including game farms; Dewetsdorp, a historic and scenic town set in the hills with attractive homes both old and modern and its own golf course; Petrusburg, an economically strong town with cattle and potato farming and annual Aartappel en Wildsfees; Reddersburg, a historic farming town; and Edenburg, wool mecca of the Free State with attractive homes on large stands and sound potential for guest houses being on the Cape Town route.

Just 90km from Bloemfontein en route to Johannesburg is Winburg, a very historic town with affordable homes.

Other platteland towns ranging from 100km to 150km from Bloemfontein include: scenic Excelsior, close to the Koranna Mountains making it ideal for hiking; and Fauresmith, one of the oldest towns in the Free State and which is also known for its horse breeders and annual horse riding events.

Ficksburg, gateway to Lesotho with its scenic mountain ranges, is home to the annual Ficksburg Cherry Festival and boasts sandstone homes; there is also Hobhouse, known as the "next Clarens" - also on the scenic Maloti Route; Jagersfontein, an old diamond mining town en route to Cape Town; Ladybrand, another main gateway to Lesotho and a thriving town very popular among tourists; and Marquard, with its mountains and cattle farming community is known for the yearly Koranna mountain bike race.

Others include Trompsburg, newly elected capital of the Gariep district, en route to Cape Town via the N1 and a town enjoying significant growth including increasing investment in infrastructure; Tweespruit, a peaceful cattle and crop farming town; Wepener, near the Lesotho border with a river running through the town and two dams nearby offering numerous outdoor sports and activities; Westminster, a peaceful and historic town en route to the Lesotho border; and finally Zastron, a very pretty town set in the mountains close to Lesotho and the Eastern Cape with numerous hiking trails - also on the Maloti Route.

Image 1: Located in Tweespruit, this three bedroom, one bathroom home is marketed at R153,100.

Image 2: Located in Hobhouse, this two-bedroom country cottage is priced at R200k.

Image 3: This two bedroom, two bathroom home in Hobhouse is being marketed at R400k.

For more information contact Estie Olivier on 051 444 4481 or send an email.

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