Wind farm blows new positivity into Hopefield

But the sleepy town will soon have another claim to fame, as the site of South Africa’s newest commercial wind farm.  Pam Golding Properties reports that the imminent development of the extensive farm has breathed new life into the town’s property market, as well as creating excitement about new job opportunities and additional demand for local businesses and services.

PGP’s agent in Hopefield, Hennie Orffer, says the town has long been popular with Capetonians as a weekend getaway, ideally located just over an hour’s drive from the city along the R45.  The slow pace of life, mild climate and healthy rural environment are key drivers for this market, as is affordability.  “Value for money has always been a key factor here,” he says, “as one can still obtain a two-bedroomed house for under R700 000, and a three-bedroomed family home for under R1 million. Even our most luxurious homes seldom top the R1.5 million mark, while one can obtain a vacant plot of over 500sqm for under R150 000.  There has also been a recent increase in demand for smallholdings, and in fact, the number of enquiries has increased on an almost weekly basis since it became clear that the wind farm project would go ahead.”

PGP has sold eight smallholdings in Hopefield since March 2010, including a number of 18ha properties priced between R545 000 and R750 000, as well as a 34ha farm which was purchased for R925 000.

Orffer says there is a lot of excitement in town about the future of the small-scale farming community, which tends to focus on crops and fruit trees, as well as some livestock farming.   “Most of the newcomers have indicated their intention to actively farm the land and not just use it as a country retreat,” he says.

Larger farms in the area tend to be focused on livestock, bee farming and game.  PGP currently has a range of properties on offer in this sector, including a 458ha ecotourism farm which is on the market at R4.6 million, as well as a 1600ha stock farm with abundant groundwater, priced at R7.5 million.  Another thriving venture up for sale is the town’s only hotel, offering 14 rooms as well as a three-bedroomed owners’ flat, which is on the market at R3.28 million.

PGP’s area manager for the West Coast, Stephanie Wynne Cole, says Hopefield offers excellent infrastructure for those considering a permanent move to the countryside.  “The town has good schools, a modern retirement centre and excellent sports complex, and is just an hour’s drive away from big city amenities such as major medical care and shopping malls,” she says.  “Yet it still maintains an olde worlde charm, with any number of beautiful Cape Dutch homesteads which have been declared national monuments. The area is steeped in history, from Stone Age fossil sites to Boer War graves and the magnificent Dutch Reformed Church erected in 1879.”

Wynne Cole says the development of the wind farm will not interfere with this unique character, as it will be located about 3km outside of town in an arid, sparsely populated section of Hopefield.  It is anticipated that the farm will contribute at least 1000MW to the electricity grid, coming online by late 2012 or early 2013.  Built at a cost of R1.6 billion, it is also expected to contribute significantly to the local job market and economy.

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