Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  24 May 2009

PROPERTY: Demand For Lifestyle Farms


Recent Western Cape Business News

Lifestyle farms, as well as game and agricultural farms located in the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape – including the Karoo and Kalahari - are becoming sought after among property buyers, reports Pam Golding Properties (PGP).

Over the past eight months (ended April 2009) the company's network of specialist agents and offices across these regions recorded a total of R120 million in farm sales. Among recent noteworthy sales is an 8000ha cattle farm in the East Kalahari sold for R13.37 million, a 5700ha farm in the Northern Cape which fetched R6.7 million and an appealing lifestyle farm near the Baviaanskloof in the Eastern Cape sold for R5.5 million.

Comments Dr Andrew Golding, CE of the PGP group: "We have identified lifestyle, leisure and commercial farms as a major growth area, with our objective to become established among both local and international clients as the preferred service provider for all categories of farms in these regions. These include game farms, hunting farms, lifestyle or weekend farms, commercial livestock and selected agricultural farms.

"Lifestyle farms, which are priced mainly between R2- and R5-million and usually under 800ha in size, with limited infrastructure, are increasingly in demand as buyers realise that for the equivalent of a house on the coast they can purchase a small farm providing a highly desirable lifestyle in a tranquil, country environment – a trend prompted by city dwellers fleeing the pressure of an urban environment and looking to 'find their own space'. This includes those seeking an inspiring and peaceful ambience in which to express their creative or artistic abilities, and which is closer to nature. By their very nature lifestyle farms do not have significant agricultural value due to size or geographic constraints such as for example, not being suitable for commercial farming activities," says Dr Golding.

He says some coastal areas are perceived to have become quite congested and as a result there is a natural gravitation towards locations which offer freedom of space. Overseas buyers generally are attracted to such properties not only for the lifestyle appeal but also in order to own a small piece of Africa. Another reason is that most farms have established houses/cottages/lodges on them and included in the purchase price. So for the price of a house in Cape Town, for example, you acquire at least several hundred hectares which includes a house on a small farm.

In the Western Cape lifestyle farms are by far the most popular due to proximity to the Garden Route and the Cape. Sought after areas are around Riversdale and the Klein Karoo where there are still very affordable portions of agricultural land. An example is a well managed dairy farm close to Heidelberg, near Riversdale, which is set on 326 hectares, with plentiful water and very scenic river frontage for leisure activities. PGP area principal Jennifer Seggie says this farm is priced at R9.2 million, the farm has 200 Jersey milk cows, 60ha under permanent irrigation and planted with rye/kikuyu/oats, two dams, a historical farm house of 1876sqm, milking parlour, sheds and staff cottages. Jacques de Beer, PGP's area principal based in Oudtshoorn comments: "For larger Western Cape livestock or game farms areas such as Laingsburg offer good value. Here PGP is marketing some 15 farms as well as a 6000ha game farm set amid scenic mountain ranges and with 17 species of game, priced at R8.5 million," he says.

With its malaria-free status, huge diversity of agricultural farms, Big Five potential and flagship national parks such as Addo, the Eastern Cape draws many new investors including those seeking prime game farm investments. Michael Wilmot, PGP's area principal for Kenton-on-Sea comments: "The coastal area is particularly appealing with a variety of farms available priced between R3 million and R30 million. In the area around Kenton-on-Sea, with its cattle, game and lifestyle properties, options available include a scenic 418ha cattle farm situated just 10km from the sea and with an indigenous forest and a river running through it, priced at R8.5 million." Grahamstown and surrounds with its excellent schools and university is a renowned and established game farm area and a selection of cattle and game farms includes a fully-stocked game farm with giraffe, buffalo and a magnificent lodge set on a 22 000ha conservation area and priced at R32 million.

In the Eastern Cape the interest in game farms is mostly from the hunting fraternity which includes South African hunters in the biltong industry as well as overseas trophy hunters. Wayne Rubidge, PGP's manager for the Karoo says: "However, in certain areas such as Addo and Graaff-Reinet where there is a strong tourism footprint there is an increase in interest from prospective game farm investors who are more inclined towards tourism than for hunting. Priced from R5 million upwards, good cattle and sheep farms remain good investment and lifestyle choices as they provide an appealing quality of life as well as a sound, steady income from livestock production for meat, dairy, wool or mohair. Large commercial, livestock enterprises can sell for up to R30 million. The explosion of interest in game farms throughout the Eastern Cape is testament to the real value that this entire region offers, with many game farmers relocating here due to the safe and healthy environment. As the Cape provinces have few land claim issues, as well as being malaria-free, they attract game farm owners from other areas, such as Limpopo, where they have sold as a result of land claims and are seeking a new area in which to put down roots. Such buyers are bringing with them herds of expensive game such as buffalo, sable and roan antelope," says Rubidge.

He says the Karoo and Kalahari regions remain popular, offering a lifestyle that conjures up romantic images of this vast area. "In the Kalahari, cattle, game and intensive agriculture farms are the most popular. The agricultural fruit and grape export irrigation farms along the Orange River, including around Upington, are in high demand. Here PGP is marketing a 671ha export grape farm at R12.5 million. The Karoo region, which is seen as a safe environment, has high appeal. Here a good sheep farm set on 9429ha in the sought after Richmond district is priced at R21.8 million. For both game and lifestyle properties areas such as Graaff-Reinet are very popular and PGP is currently selling a beautiful lifestyle hunting farm of 1820ha for R8.5 million. On offer in this region are large farms in excess of 30 000ha which attract interest from as far afield as the Middle East and Eastern Europe."

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