Winelands estate living that won’t break the bank becoming scarce

Growing numbers of empty-nesters and retirees who want to be shot of the responsibilities of large family homes and escape frenetic urban living are looking to relocate to the pastoral splendour of the Winelands.

The area is so desirable because it offers the attractions of a slower-paced rural lifestyle in a spectacular setting, while being less than an hour away from all the Big City amenities of Cape Town.

Lew Geffen, Chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, says the majority of retirees from across the country, and indeed the globe, who look to buy homes in the Winelands are drawn to the area’s numerous lifestyle estates.

“These communities offer security, low maintenance and the convenience of on-site leisure facilities, but soaring demand has pushed entry level properties on many estates to around R6 million – a price point that is far beyond most people’s financial retirement planning.

“In addition to dwindling stock spurred by the influx of upcountry buyers, a flat economy and global market instability have significantly shrunk the value of retirement investments while, conversely, property prices in the Western Cape have risen steeply during the same period.”

According to Chris Cilliers, CEO and Principal for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the Winelands, the economic squeeze that started nearly a decade ago has seriously set back many empty-nesters’ retirement planning, leaving them more financially vulnerable.

“As a consequence they’ve left the acquisition of their retirement homes too late with exponentially diminished options available. And if they’re not canny in their new home searches, they’ll be forced to sacrifice lifestyle at precisely the stage of their lives when they finally have the time to do all the things they couldn’t while working and raising a family.”

Cilliers says while many secure lifestyle estates in the Winelands fall into the luxury property bracket, with patience and a little luck buyers can still find accessibly priced estate homes in the region, including on one of Paarl’s oldest and most established golf estates where homes cost between R2.4m and R7m.

“Boschenmeer Golf Estate is a prime example of superior estate living at a price accessible to a broader sector of the population. It was developed around the present site of the Paarl Golf Club, which as a club is more than 100 years old, and the estate offers investors a choice of four property types. The home offered are Single Residential, Country Homes, Lodges and Townhouses, with some 90% of all the properties facing the course.

“The vision of Boschenmeer’s developers was to create an integrated residential area around the greenbelt of a golf course to offer residents the tranquil and relaxing ambience of rolling fairways – regardless of whether or not they participate in the sport,” she says.

“Homes are positioned overlooking the perfectly maintained 27 holes to offer maximum privacy and to optimise the magnificent views of the Simonsberg and Franschhoek mountains.”

Boschenmeer is also an eco-sensitive estate and the developers have committed to preserving the pristine natural environment that includes several stunning water features, one a lake with two islands and a bird sanctuary, which is home to more than 20 species.

Architecturally, every effort has been made to ensure the development is in harmony with the estate’s natural surroundings as well as the region’s rich history. The Cape Vernacular design theme is a fusion of Cape Dutch and Victorian architectural heritage, together with the Tuscan influences inherited from the First World War’s Italian Prisoners Of War who built Du Toitskloof Pass.

“The spike in demand for estate living has not only driven up prices but also precipitated major stock shortages that are spurring new developments as well as the expansion of several existing estates,” says Cilliers, “so the fact that Boschenmeer is completely developed is a distinct advantage.

“Our office recently sold the last available vacant plot so there will be no more active construction on the estate and residents are assured of peace and tranquillity without any invasive disruptions, as Boschenmeer has no plans for further expansion.”

However, Cilliers cautions that the window of opportunity on estates like Boschenmeer is closing fast.

“We have already seen a substantial rise in prices during the past 12 months and I don’t foresee a wavering of this J-curve in the medium term. Empty-nesters are competing for property with a rising tide of younger buyers seeking secure homes away from the city where they can raise their children, and demand from foreign investors, especially ‘swallows’, remains strong.

”People who are contemplating a down-size when their offspring leave the nest or those who plan to retire in the next five to 10 years should seriously consider getting into the market now while comparatively affordable estate properties are still available.”

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