Increasing demand for premium Graaff-Reinet properties

“The progress made by the ‘Gem of the Karoo’ was recognised in 2010 when Graaff-Reinet was voted South Africa’s Town of the Year in recognition of its huge popularity,” says Wayne Rubidge, Pam Golding Properties area manager in the Karoo.

The fourth oldest town in the country and a commercial centre for the region, Graaff-Reinet is situated on a main route to the coast in the western section of the Eastern Cape, approximately two-and-a-half hours from Port Elizabeth and three hours from George. With 220 Heritage Sites and a thriving social community with well patronised restaurants, tourism and other businesses plus a host of sport, social and adventure clubs, vibrant Graaff-Reinet receives over 100 000 visitors annually.  

“Growing investor confidence in the area is increasingly evident with local businessman and farmers very active in the property market, further boosted by increased interest among domestic visitors, particularly those with families due to the good schools, sense of community and secure environment. There is also steady interest from foreigners who visit the town in increasing numbers - drawn by the beauty of the picturesque setting, abundance of historical homes and magnificent farms of various categories - all offering a diverse range of opportunities for buyers,” says Rubidge.  

“The majority of buyers or investors in Graaff-Reinet take the view that they or a family member will be relocating here at some point in the future and as a result, there is a good demand for rental property in this well working and cared for economic hub, which also services smaller towns in the area such as Nieu Bethesda, Murraysburg, Pearston and Aberdeen.”

With increasing confidence in the town leading supermarket chains are upgrading their existing businesses while others are looking to invest in the town in the future. Graaff-Reinet has an industrial area with quality premises suitable for construction, retail or engineering businesses. Currently, Pam Golding Properties is marketing a 4 452sqm vacant site which is located on prime flat land flanked by well known, established businesses. The property is priced at R475 000.

Rubidge says that the sustained demand for homes to rent augurs well for residential property as a sound investment. “Popular price ranges for homes are between R750 000 and R950 000 for a classical Graaff-Reinet or Karoo period home with either two or three bedrooms, situated in the area bounded by the Sundays River and Ncwebe Dam – known as the ‘horseshoe’ . Here homes under R750 000 are increasingly scarce, while the price range from R1.3 million to R2 million, comprising larger, more prestigious homes, is also sought after. “

A seemingly endless trend in the Karoo is the demand for unique Karoo properties.  Says Rubidge: “One such property situated in Graaff-Reinet and showcased by PGP at the Heritage Festival sold soon thereafter for R1.3 million. Another property, a large heritage home set on a large erf with established trees, various outbuildings and typical Karoo features, sold after being on the market for just three days. This was purchased for R1.8 million by a local businessman who specialises in restoration.  This trend towards acquiring this type of property can be seen in other prestigious Karoo towns such as Prince Albert, while Aberdeen, Victoria West, Murraysburg, Middelburg and Steynsberg to name a few  are seeing a steady increase in enquiries in the wide range of properties on offer in the Karoo. A example the value to be had in these towns includes a restored Victorian mansion in Aberdeen in the Karoo Midlands, with six bedrooms, Oregon floors and ceilings, sash windows, shutters and ball and claw baths, priced at R750 000.

Currently being showcased by PGP in Graaff-Reinet is a magnificent, fully restored historical home on a large erf with fruit trees and scenic views of the mountains and Camdeboo National Park. With many outbuildings typical of these grand period properties the three bedroom home has wooden floors, ceilings and shutters throughout and a large well designed garden providing privacy. On the market for R2.3 million it offers good value for such a premium property.

In Graaff-Reinet’s elite suburb of Cypress Grove, where grand homes are set on spacious properties, is a restored four bedroom home situated on 3255sqm erf with large trees and a swimming pool. With all the trimmings of a classical Graaff-Reinet home such as original fireplaces, wooden floors and high ceilings, this property is in immaculate condition and is well priced at R990 000.

A further sound buying opportunity is rare example of a historical double storey Victorian Karoo home, well situated with six bedrooms and full of character, with original features such as wooden floors and the original fireplace. Within walking distance of all tourist attractions and restaurants this prestigious property lends itself to an exclusive boutique hotel. It is immaculately maintained with a large private garden, and is priced at R2.5 million.

Adds Rubidge: “The attractions of the Karoo and its two flagship towns of Graaff-Reinet and Prince Albert offer sound opportunities for those seeking premium houses in these esteemed locations. Graaff-Reinet, with its exceptional properties, will continue to attract investors due to the special attributes of the town such as safety, a sense of community that is not often found in the fast moving modern world, making it an ideal place to raise a family or retire – or simply enjoy quality of life. Demand for rental properties remains high and is also attracting investors who plan to move to the country at some time in the future. Due to the unique location of Graaff-Reinet surrounded by the mountains of the Camdeboo National Park and the ‘horseshoe’ of the Sundays River, there is no room for expansion of the old part of town with its historic homes. As a result there is a limited number of houses in this popular area.

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