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City dwellers love Karoo country living with homes from under R1m

17 Nov 2019

Property News

Brought to you by Property24

City dwellers are increasingly migrating to the more affordable towns of the Karoo.

This three bedroom, three bathroom home in Prince Albert, Western Cape, offers a home office, enclosed courtyard, pool and garden cottage. It is on the market for R1.95 million - click here to view.

This is according to Ian Badenhorst, licensee for Seeff Country and Karoo, who says that with land prices starting from under R100 000 and houses under R1 million, “you can sell up in the cities, buy a house in the Karoo and still have money left to start a small business”.

This three bedroom home in Middelburg, Eastern Cape, has large sunny rooms and is close to schools and amenities. It is selling for R735 000 - click here to view.

Why? Aside from the affordability, the lifestyle is great, he says. “Infrastructure is good and you have access to good schools, clean air and fresh produce, all of which make for a wholesome lifestyle, something that is becoming an attractive alternative to the hectic cities,” says Badenhorst. “The cost of living is lower and there is no stress here. It’s the stuff of country dreams.”

Although agriculture drives the economies of these town, there is a growing tourism sector as visitors look for alternative experiences. This has opened up opportunities for guest houses, Airbnb properties, restaurants, quaint attractions and service, and cottage industries, providing a healthy boost for properties here.

This four bedroom, two bathroom home in Van Wyksdorp, Ladismith, offers a large kitchen, study and patio. It is selling for R1.85 million - click here to view.

For older buyers, it is often an ideal choice for retirement, but Seeff’s agents are seeing an increase in professionals and business executives investing in weekend homes and lifestyle farms. Young families are also migrating to the Karoo for a safer and better quality of life. People in their late forties and early fifties often yearn for a change in career and the Karoo offers plenty of that, he says.

The Karoo is especially popular for its beautiful landscapes and quaint houses, from Victorian to Karoo houses with wide verandahs to soak up the landscape. Also big in the region are historic properties, guest houses as well as lifestyle, game and commercial farms.

Badenhorst highlights a few popular Karoo towns to illustrate:

1. Graaff-Reinet (Karoo Heartland)

This four bedroom, two bathroom home in Graaff-Reneit, Eastern Cape, offers a farm-style kitchen, outdoor entertainment area with garden and braai area and pool. It is selling for R1.92 million - click here to view.

Surrounded by the Camdeboo National Park and with attractions such as the Valley of Desolation and more than 200 heritage buildings including the Drostdy Hotel, Graaff-Reinet is a popular choice, according to Lynette McNaughton.

It is one of the few areas that is still experiencing a shortage of stock as it attracts a broad range of buyers.

House prices range from R1.2 million to R2.2 million and there are also a choice of commercial opportunities and farms priced to around R19.5 million for a productive farm with excellent infrastructure, ideal for cattle, sheep and Angora goats and situated in the beautiful Camdeboo Conservancy.

2. Prince Albert (Karoo)

Within a walking distance from the town, this newly-renovated three bedroom, three bathroom home in Prince Albert, Western Cape, has an established garden. It is on the market for R2.2 million - click here to view.

Marelize Vorster says that this popular Karoo town is just over four hours’ drive from Cape Town and is renowned for its pretty architecture. It offers a typical mix of Victorian and Karoo-style homes priced from around R1.4 million to R2.5 million, with a highest price achieved of R8 million. The town is popular with creatives and retirees especially.

Some of the interesting attractions include a showroom theatre, art galleries and restaurants, Gay's Guernsey Dairy, the African Relish Cooking School and olive and wine farms.

3. Van Wyksdorp (Klein Karoo)

This well-maintained two bedroom home in Van Wyksdorp, Ladismith, is selling for R700 000 - click here to view.

Somewhat of an unknown gem of the Klein Karoo, Van Wyksdorp is a stargazing dream, says Gerhardt Oosthuizen. Here, you can still find guest houses and self-catering establishments, which offer an authentic Karoo experience complete with no electricity and old furniture.

The Spekboom Restaurant offers real ‘boerekos’ and there are plenty of arts and crafts available at The Gallery. And there are fantastic trails for mountain biking and motorcycle enthusiasts. It is a great choice for weekend homes and retirees. Game farm enthusiasts can also find value here.

House prices range from R700 000 to R1.2 million and small 1ha plots from R285 000 to R350 000. Lifestyle farms range from R750 000 to R960 000, while farms range from R850 000 (no infrastructure) to R6.5 million for a game farm and R16.5 million for a commercial operation.

4. Middelburg (Karoo Heartland)

This Cape-Dutch style three bedroom, two bathroom home in Middleburg, Eastern Cape, has a study, large garden and pool. It is on the market for R2.5 million - click here to view.

Middelburg is close to Graaff-Reinet but offers great facilities such as a ‘keg and springbuck’ along with Celtis and Picadilli’s for a nice meal and plenty of sport including golf, bowling, tennis, river rafting and horse riding, says Barbara Van Zyl.

It offers great value for weekend houses and is an ideal place to move to if you’re in your forties and fifties or looking to retire. House prices range from just R500 000 (two bedroom) and R700 000 (three bedroom) with a top price of R2.5 million. Agricultural properties range from R3 500 to R4 000 per hectares depending on the infrastructure with farming mostly around wool sheep, dorpers, cattle and goats.

5. Calvinia (Upper Karoo)

This six bedroom, three bathroom home in Calvinia, Northern Cape, is selling for R1.35 million - click here to view.

The town lies in one of the largest wool-producing districts, about mid-way between Cape Town and Upington.

Flip Augustyn says Calvinia offers excellent affordability with prices of vacant plots between R50 000 to R100 000 and houses from R500 000 to R1.3 million with a highest price paid of R1.15 million for a house and for R1.65 million for a guest house. Agriculture properties (sheep and goat farming) range between R3 million and R20 million depending on the extent and location of the farm.

Calvinia is just over four-and-a-half hour’s drive from Cape Town and offers Karoo living at its best. It’s well-known for the annual Hantam Vleisfees, which brings visitors from far and wide.

6. Oudthoorn (Klein Karoo)

This private game lodge on 125ha in Swartberg Private Wildlife Estate, Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape, offers five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a pool, dam views and more. It is on the market for R23 million - click here to view.

Popular with visitors and the home of KKNK (Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees), Oudtshoorn is also a great stopover between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and about half an hour from George, says Bettie Nel.

The town offers property to suit every need, from old to young. House prices range from R800 000 to R5 million while farms range to around R23 million for a spectacular game lodge/country house in a private game estate.

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