Karoo property remains an affordable option

“For many buyers the Karoo is becoming a ‘must-have’ in the property portfolio. Properties in the under R350 000 price range are again attracting significant interest and buyers are seeing the Karoo as a region that offers great long term value and an affordable lifestyle investment. With all the publicity surrounding the Karoo and the sense that one of the African continent’s great spaces needs to be treasured has unified the public behind the best interests of the region as well as highlighted the virtues of the area.

“These include the unique historical properties found in the 52 towns that comprise the Karoo. Most of these affordable historic homes are found in the lesser known smaller Karoo towns such as Murraysburg, Aberdeen, Phillipstown, Steynsberg and Britstown, to name a few. If one buys a historic home at the right price the intrinsic value of these homes seems to make them a good investment as there are a limited number of such properties. New versions of these homes offer a modern lifestyle, however they cannot replicate the authentic historic value and character inherent in an original Karoo home,” says Rubidge.

He says buying a Karoo home in one the lesser known, generally smaller towns at the right price could take the form of a un-restored Karoo cottage, which can be acquired for under R300 000 or a restored larger home for upwards of R500 000.

“In the equally popular R500 000 price range in these lesser known towns the options revert to larger, grand restored homes often located on large erfs and generally situated in the older parts of these smaller Karoo towns. An example is one of the oldest homes in Murraysburg in the Western Cape’s Karoo, on the market for R560 000.  This property includes two Victorian cottages on a large erf of 2855sqm with a windmill and reservoir and all the trimmings of a great Karoo home. Providing four bedrooms the cottages have been lovingly restored over the last few years. An active community and a town with appealing old buildings and wide streets lined with trees, Murraysburg offers the genuine ‘Karoo escape’.  Providing great value the town is the ideal investment for an affordable Karoo retreat, a second home in the Karoo, a first time property investment, among other options. The town also offers the sought after, larger historical Karoo homes like many of the other smaller towns.”

Also in Murraysburg in the lower price range it is still possible to buy an un-restored Karoo-style home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, wooden floors and windows, for R236 500. “With the right type of attention and restoration a property such as this will be a good investment in the medium term,” says Rubidge. “The emergence of a viable rental market in many of these small Karoo towns now also gives homeowners a new option to consider.  An example of what can be achieved is showcased in Aberdeen in the Eastern Cape in a six bedroom, three bathroom house which has been almost completely restored and is now on the market for R750 000.

“Local citizens are increasingly acquiring property in their own towns, joining the movement for restoration and revitalisation of the Karoo's classic towns and culture. Buyers from all walks of life and from around South Africa are seeking a home or have acquired property in the Karoo. As a first time homeowner the Karoo offers an ideal entry into the property market as well as an enviable lifestyle or leisure destination. Currently Pam Golding Properties Karoo has identified around 40 homes and properties in the R350 000 price range or below. In addition, vacant stands are available between R20 000 and R50 000, some being spacious, and could even include a windmill or reservoir, stone wall or other unique Karoo features. Current 10 plots in Phillipstown in Upper Karoo in the Northern Cape are available for purchase, ranging in size from 800-4000sqm.

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