Stanford - attracting young families and semi-retired buyers

The picturesque village of Stanford, located in the Cape Overberg some 15 minutes inland from Hermanus, continues to attract buyers in search of a quiet country lifestyle and scenic surroundings.  

Pam Golding Properties (PGP) reports a steady upturn in sales over the course of 2012, with interest coming mainly from young families and semi-retired buyers.

The well-preserved Victorian village was declared a conservation area in 1995, meaning that its unique character is protected from unchecked development.  Natural boundaries including the Kleine River and the surrounding Akkedisberg mountains also prevent its expansion beyond the current town limits.  The result, says PGP agent Jill Smith, is that buyers can purchase with complete assurance that their views will be protected and their small-town lifestyle preserved.  “This is a highly appealing factor for buyers who are moving here specifically for lifestyle reasons,” she says.  “The relaxed pace of life, warm and friendly village atmosphere and low crime rate are key factors in most of our clients’ purchasing decisions.  They want their children to be able to grow up with more freedom than they have in the big city, to ride their bicycles in the street and play on the village green in safety.  A number of our semi-retired buyers are purchasing homes for use as weekend and holiday getaways, to which they will later retire on a permanent basis.  For them the fact that the magnificent surroundings will never be marred by traffic congestion and large crowds is also a big positive.”

Confidence in Stanford’s property market is reflected in PGP’s sales figures.  In 2011, the company sold eight properties to a total value of R13.36 million, with the highest price achieved being R3.25 million.  Those figures have already been surpassed in 2012, and as at the end of August (2012), Smith had sold 10 properties to a total value of R16.643 million.  Prices ranged from R320 000 for a 568sqm vacant erf, to R5 million for an 86ha farm.  The bulk of sales activity was in the R1.2 million to R1.5 million range, although there were also three sales over R2 million.  Smith says buyers this year have been mostly retirees or semi-retirees in the 50 to 65 age bracket, as well as a few young family buyers aged 30 to 40.

Notable sales also included the landmark “Old Mill”, a 3000sqm property in the historic heart of the village, located on Caledon Street.  The mill traces its roots to the 1830’s, when it played a vital role in the development of the village.  Having fallen into disuse in the 1940’s, the property’s original labourer’s cottage was renovated in the 1980’s, transforming it into a cosy three-bedroomed homestead.  The original mill-house also still stands on the property, and is ideally located for redevelopment as a guest suite or granny flat.  PGP sold the property in May 2012 for R2 million, to South African expatriates who intend renovating it to live in when they return home.

PGP’s MD for the Boland and Overberg regions, Annien Borg, says value for money is another key selling point for Stanford.  “One can still obtain a vacant plot in the village from as little as R350 000 to R850 000,” she says, “while cottages are priced between R950 000 and R1.5 million.  Larger family homes are currently selling at between R1.8 million and R3.5 million, going up to the R4 million to R5 million range for riverfront properties.  Considering the ease of access to Cape Town, just two hours’ drive away, and the fact that there is an international airport just 90 minutes away, this is very competitive pricing for high quality homes in a unique scenic environment.”

“Another attribute is the ease of access to the coastline,” Borg continues, “with Hermanus just 15 minutes away with its beaches, shopping, medical care and schools, as well as other quaint beachfront towns like De Kelders and Gansbaai. Closer to the village itself, there are now seven major vineyards, including Raka and Boschriver, as well as an acclaimed microbrewery and cheesery.  And Stanford is peppered with art galleries, craft shops and antique collectors, ideal for exploring on a winter’s weekend.  There is also a wealth of health outdoor activities to enjoy, from horse-riding and kayaking to excellent birding – in fact, the annual Stanford Bird Fair is fast approaching, and will be held this year from 28 to 30 September, attracting hundreds of keen twitchers and photographers to the village.”

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