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Where to find Karoo property bargains

08 Sep 2010
To find bargain semi- or un-restored Karoo heritage properties one may have to delve further into the Karoo where many towns wait to be “discovered”.

So says Wayne Rubidge, Pam Golding Properties’ (PGP) area principal in the Karoo, who adds that stretching across four provinces the bouquet of Karoo towns which still offer homes at excellent prices are little known places such as Petrusville, Carnarvon, Kenhardt and Merweville in the Western Cape. “Here a spectrum of appealing, historic houses cover a broad price range with the most popular lower end between R250k and R380k up to the higher end around R1,2m and up to R2,5m.

“In Merweville and Murraysburg – which is also in the Western Cape’s Karoo –affordable options range from a large vacant plot for R40k to a three-bedroom Victorian cottage on a large erf of 2855sqm in the old part of town priced at R350k. Like Murraysburg, Merweville and other small Karoo towns do not have many properties for sale at any given time as these are small towns – and this is another reason why Karoo house prices will increase steadily and offer sound investment potential,” says Rubidge.

“Spanning vast areas across several regions, the Karoo still offers affordable properties and is a sound investment and retirement option. Where else can you purchase a historic cottage in a great location for R250k?

“Prices of homes are steadily increasing from a low base, with good demand in most towns in the price range under R500k. However, a wide range of properties in this price bracket and with historical significance is still available in most towns, while in the more exclusive towns homes are fetching prices into the millions,” says Rubidge.

He says in addition to important aspects such as location, condition and potential, the possible trimmings and extras to look for in a lower-end investment include yellowwood or Oregon pine floors, stained glass doors, as well as features included in some homes from the Victorian era such as pressed steel ceilings and the popular verandas with steps integral to the street social scene. Other desirable features are fruit trees, a borehole, leiwater, reservoir, stone boundary walls and a windmill.

“In terms of location, some of the areas buyers should consider include the relatively small North Eastern Cape towns of Hofmeyr, Molteno and Steynsberg, where there are active golf and lawn bowling clubs as well as festivals such as the October adventure festivals held in many towns and which include water sports, biking, hiking, 4X4 routes, to name a few. In these towns affordable prices start from R100k and range up to R350k for a large three bedroom Karoo house on a large erf or even situated on two or three erven.”

He says there is great interest in Steynsberg, where over the past three months five classic properties were sold to buyers across the country, particularly from East London. “Located within driving distance of larger towns such as Gariep and Graaff-Reinet, Grahamstown offers some sound, affordable options priced from R90k for a small cottage to R250k for a large, un-restored house. An excellent buy currently on the market is a three bedroom artist’s retreat with painted murals and plenty of character priced at just R150k.

“Just north of the Garden Route in the apple producing areas of the Langkloof you will find the Baviaanskloof wilderness area and its neighbouring towns of Willowmore and Steytlerville. Due to these being the closest genuine Karoo towns to the Garden Route and Port Elizabeth, it is expected that property buyers will soon start showing interest in these towns.”

He says this trend is already becoming evident in Willowmore, where there is growing interest from good value-for-money properties in the lower end to beautiful homes for top of the range country living right on the doorstep of the Baviaanskloof World Heritage site. “Such properties include a spacious and rustic five-bedroom, three-bathroom home with tennis court and exceptional garden which won the ‘Wen Tuin’ Summer Rainfall Karoo garden competition in 2008 and which is priced at R1,8m.

He says in the town of Steytlerville, about one hour from Port Elizabeth, good quality homes can still be purchased for less than R350k.

Readers' Comments Have a comment about this article? Email us now.

What about Joubertina & Twee Riviere in the Langkloof . Exceptionally good prices !! only an hour from Jeffreys Bay , Two hours from PE & George . An hour 20min from Plett . with Tsitsikamma on the doorstep. Kouga mountain reserve & then the start of the Baviaans mega reserve. Its a forgotten part of our country. A gem . !! - Anonymous

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