Oudtshoorn draws new residents

Clean air and water, favourable weather and the outstretched Karoo landscape are increasingly drawing homebuyers from far and wide to Oudtshoorn.

This late 18th Century family home with five bedrooms and five bathrooms is for sale through Chas Everitt International in Oudtshoorn for R2,95m. It boasts Oregon pine floors, an original fireplace, a park-like garden with its own river frontage and uninterrupted mountain views.
New residents span all categories – from retirees and urban families who want to live life at a more sedate pace, to South Africans who work overseas on contract and want to settle their families in a safe environment, people relocating for health reasons and international buyers attracted by the climate and the rich history of the town, say Antoinette du Toit and Janka Niemand, co-owners of the local Chas Everitt International estate agency.
"Most new residents target properties in the middle segment of the market, where solid family homes are now selling briskly at prices from R800 000 to R1,5m,” they say. “Not only do they find excellent value compared to what is available at comparative prices in inland and city regions, but also a highly desirable lifestyle.
“Oudtshoorn is widely regarded as the perfect place to raise a family – the streets are safe, crime is low, there are 14 schools, and there are ample opportunities for nature-oriented adventures.”
The agents note that demand for the so-called “feather palaces” – character homes built with local sandstone during the heydays of the ostrich feather boom – is consistent among Gauteng buyers who want to live a gracious life at the perfect address. Prices for such properties range up to R6,5m.
“Buyers from the Middle East and Europe who want to escape to a summer house during the winter months in the northern hemisphere also show interest in historic homes (see photo) although many now target units in housing estates, where prices range from around R760 000 for full-title homes with three bedrooms to around R2,5m for luxury homes with double facilities, high quality finishes, large entertainment areas and extras such as music rooms.”
At the same time, the demand at entry-level is high among local first-time buyers. Basic homes with two bedrooms are selling at prices from R350 000, while around R800 000 will buy a three-bedroom family home in areas such as West Bank.
Oudtshoorn is a popular holiday destination and several lodges and bed-and-breakfast establishments cater for tourists and holidaymakers,the agents say.The town is a convenient “halfway house” for inland tourists en route to Cape Town or nearby towns on the Garden Route."However, while tourism is a strong component of the local economy, agriculture – including ostrich farms – still forms the foundation of Oudtshoorn's fortunes."

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