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THE “REDISCOVERY” OF SWELLENDAM

The Cape Overberg town of Swellendam, located at the foot of the towering Langeberg mountains, alongside the N2 highway, is enjoying a fresh wave of interest from property buyers.  Pam Golding Properties reports that the local property market has picked up significantly in the first quarter of 2011, with PGP agents recording 19 sales to a value of more than R30 million during this period. 

PGP’s area manager for Swellendam, Le Roux van der Merwe, attributes the upturn in the market to a variety of factors.  “It is of course partly due to wider economic factors, as the country begins to climb out of the recession period,” he says.  “But there is also definitely a sense that our scenic town is being ‘re-discovered’ by several different categories of buyers.  The most notable among these include entrepreneurs, wanting to establish themselves in a position where they can benefit from the busy local tourism industry.  As Swellendam lies exactly half way between Cape Town and George, it offers an excellent opportunity to combine access to this tourist market, while still enjoying easy proximity to large centres for import and export purposes.”

Other groups expressing fresh interest in the town include retirement buyers, who enjoy the magnificent mountain scenery and proximity to Cape Town, Worcester, George and the coast, as well as the peaceful country lifestyle.  “Swellendam has so much to offer the retired couple,” says van der Merwe, “with its lush green surroundings, old oak trees, charming heritage buildings and numerous upmarket restaurants and social clubs.  There are also any number of opportunities to enjoy healthy outdoor activities, such as hiking the many walks in the magnificent surrounding hills and valleys.  These same factors are beginning to attract interest from overseas buyers, after a long period of little to no activity from this segment – these buyers tend to seek out the quietest parts of town and the best mountain views, and are buying either for investment purposes or for their own retirement.”

At present, van der Merwe says there is particular demand for older cottages which buyers can renovate to their own taste, as well as for heritage homes or those with typical rural character.  Open space is highly sought-after, so buyers tend to appreciate larger erven with spacious gardens.  “There is a shortage of stock in the price range from R700 000 to R1 million, as well as at the upper end of the market,” he says.  “Buyers seeking very upmarket homes in the price range above R3 million have only limited choice.  But there is more variety to choose from in the R1.2 million to R1.9 million price range, which tends to include more modern homes.”

PGP’s MD for the Boland and Overberg regions, Annien Borg, says there has also been a notable upturn in enquiries for smallholdings and commercial farms in the area.  “There are definitely more potential buyers viewing farms in the Overberg region this year,” she says, “when compared to the final quarter of 2010.” 
Among the properties currently for sale in Swellendam exclusively through PGP are two character-filled guesthouses, located on either side of the main town centre.  “The Old Mill” is a Cape Dutch-style property occupying over 4200sqm on the western side of town, dating back to the 1840’s and declared a national monument.  Rated as a four-star guesthouse, it has six en suite rooms plus an owners’ cottage, all tastefully restored and decorated in olde worlde style.  The property still includes the stone wall where the original mill once stood, while the original mill race still flows through the grounds.  There is also a well-known restaurant seating 50 guests indoors and 130 outdoors, under the vines.  The property is on the market at R7.7 million.

The four-star Braeside Guest House is located on the eastern end of town, and also occupies over 4000sqm of land, including a park-like garden with established trees.  This Cape Edwardian home dates back to 1901, and still bears original features such as wooden floors, doors and windows.  There are five en-suite bedrooms, a spacious lounge, dining room and office, a country kitchen and swimming pool.  The property is for sale at R3.4 million, with its furniture and fittings negotiable at additional cost.
For those seeking a simpler family retreat, PGP is also marketing a magnificent 1820’s home with many Victorian features, located in a prime position in the most sought-after section of the town.  The well-maintained home is surrounded by a neat, manageable garden, and still has its original chimney, wooden floors and sash windows.  It occupies close to 780sqm and offers three bedrooms, two bathrooms and three reception rooms, plus a single garage with ample workspace.   The property is for sale at R1.48 million.

Released on behalf of Pam Golding Properties


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