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N7 Highway upgrade - good news for Swartland property

The upgrade of the N7 highway into a dual-carriage motorway is good news for the residential property market in the Swartland.  


So says Pam Golding Properties (PGP), whose area manager Gail Friedlander reports increased interest in homes in the area, since the project began in mid-2012.  The highway upgrade is currently focused around the area from the Melkbosstrand exit to the Philadelphia/Atlantis exits (as at November 2012), but is expected to be completed as far as Malmesbury by the end of 2013.


“The N7 upgrade will effectively turn Malmesbury into a satellite town for Cape Town,” says Friedlander, “by reducing the commuting time to around 45 minutes.  The Riebeek Valley and other small Swartland villages will also benefit from the improved accessibility, and we anticipate a significant increase in the number of people who will choose to commute to Cape Town from these areas.  Buyers will be able to purchase a home in a magnificent scenic rural setting, with peace, privacy and a relaxed country lifestyle, while still being able to enjoy the work opportunities of a big city.  We are already seeing a number of enquiries from clients who recognise the impact this may have on the property market in the Swartland, and who want to buy now before the prices start climbing.  The area offers excellent value for money when compared to prices in the city itself, and has the benefit of lower crime rates and a more wholesome environment for children.  It also has well-established infrastructure including excellent schools, making it an ideal place to raise a family.”


Friedlander says the highest demand at present is for properties priced under R2 million, including large vacant plots, small lifestyle farms and family homes.  “There is some demand from upcountry buyers including those from the Northern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State,” she says, “but the bulk of our buyers are coming from Cape Town and particularly its Northern Suburbs.  Some are looking to relocate their families to a safer, less congested environment offering better value for money, while others are investing in weekend and holiday homes, knowing that even the more remote towns will soon be accessible in under an hour and a half’s drive.”


Another interesting trend at present is that of would-be tenants who are opting to buy property instead, due to the current shortage of rental stock in the Swartland.


Malmesbury


Prices in Malmesbury currently start at around R750 000 for an entry level property, going up to R1.2 million to R1.7 million for a modest family home, and R3 million to R4 million for larger and more luxurious properties.  The town has excellent infrastructure including high-quality private and government schools, a country hospital and fully-developed CBD with extensive retail offering.  Just 65km from Cape Town, it is an ideal getaway for those who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, with a network of 4x4, mountain-bike and hiking trails, a nine-hole golf course development with plans to extend to 18 holes, and numerous wine farms in the vicinity.  There is also a growing tourism sector, with a number of restaurants, B&B’s and guest houses.

Riebeek Valley


The towns of Riebeek West and Riebeek Kasteel are highly sought-after as weekend getaways, but also have an established permanent population - including a number of acclaimed artists who gain inspiration from the magnificent setting on the slopes of the Kasteelberg mountain, surrounded by wheat-fields, vineyards and olive groves.  Just 80km from Cape Town, it is an easy one hour drive from the city.  The valley has a growing reputation as a food and wine destination, boosted by regular events such as the Olive Festival, MedFest and Shiraz and Art Weekend, as well as several fresh food markets.


Friedlander says prices here start at an entry level of around R1.1 million, with a small home or cottage costing between R2 million and R2.5 million.  The top end of the market sees larger homes fetching prices between R3.4 million and R5 million.  PGP reports a significant increase in enquiries in the area, with sales across a broad spectrum of properties including farms, vacant plots, houses and commercial buildings.  “The month of September (2012) was PGP’s best for this period in 14 years,” says Friedlander, “with sales in excess of R11 million.”


There is also promising interest in a new residential development, the Kasteelberg Nature Estate, which is to be built on the slopes of the Kasteelberg in 2013.  The secure development will comprise a mix of spacious freehold plots, lifestyle cottages and bedsit units, as well as a medical centre offering doctors’ consulting rooms and 24-hour nursing care.  All properties will enjoy sweeping views of the Riebeek Valley. Prices start from just over R1 million (VAT incl.) for both plots and free-standing cottages.

Koringberg


One of the surprise trends of the year (2012) has been the “discovery” of the quaint village of Koringberg, located some 40km past Malmesbury.  This charming village is set amid rolling fields of wheat and wintergreen, and has an acclaimed mountain-bike trail as well as magnificent scenic hikes and watersports on the nearby Misverstand Dam.


Friedlander says PGP is currently receiving around five enquiries per week for property in Koringberg.  Value for money is one of the prime drivers of this demand - vacant plots can still be obtained for as little as R200 000, while an entry level home costs just R500 000 and a larger residence from only R1.2 million.


“This is one of the last ‘untouched’ villages in the Swartland,” says Friendlander, “accessible via a good tar road, and with sweeping views of the Swartland.  Once the N7 upgrade is complete, it will be just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town, making it an ideal location for a weekend cottage.  We anticipate a significant escalation in demand over the next 18 months.”




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