Buyers mining Barberton’s lifestyle

BARBERTON, Mpumalanga (August 02) - Located in the De Kaap Valley in the Lowveld, Barberton is home to some of the world’s oldest sedimentary rock formations. It is also the location of a number of new residential developments and the intended site of a new shopping centre, hotel and campsite, according to Elsabie Jacobs, principal of Realty 1 International Property Group in Barberton.

Named after Graham Barber and his cousins Fred and Henry, diggers intent on making their fortune out of the gold deposits found on ‘Barber's Reef’ in the 1880s, the former shanty town of Barberton is today one of Mpumalanga Province’s fastest developing economic and residential hubs, she continues.

This is evidenced by plans to build a large retail centre at the entrance to the town, which, subject to the approval of the local authorities, will house a number of major national outlets. Intended to support not only the local community but also the growing numbers of tourists to the area, Jacobs says Barberton has become a holiday destination of choice for rising volumes of both local and international visitors.

Commenting on the diversification of the town’s once mining-driven economy, she says agriculture, forestry and most recently tourism, are playing key roles in driving growth, which is having a knock-on effect on the local real estate market.

As a result, numerous residential projects are either rising out of the ground or in the pipeline, one of which is the recently launched Monte Vista, a 400-site estate that lies at the foot of the Makhonjwa Mountains and borders on to a nature reserve. Aimed at middle market buyers, prices start at R297 000 for a vacant 1 100 sqm stand, attracting high levels of interest from consumers throughout the Lowveld.

“Apart from our rich natural and cultural heritage, Barberton also offers competitive house pricing– which is also attracting newcomers to the area.”

Another of the many new developments due out of the ground in the near future is one intended to satisfy soaring local demand for retirement accommodation, she continues. On completion, the still-to-be-named development will consist of eight full title units of 137 sqm each, priced at around R850 000. Ideal for retirees because of its near-town location and single-storey construction, access to all amenities is easy which will ensure rapid take-up on launch, she believes.

Painting the Barberton property market as “bubbling with limited stock supplies”, Jacobs says the town is growing off a solid infrastructure characterized by the upgrading of the road that linking it with Nelspruit and the Swaziland border. This, along with the construction of an affordable hotel and campsite, will further stimulate tourism, which has taken its place in recent years as one of the town’s major income sources.

While still offering good comparative value for money, Barberton’s house prices have notched up growth of around 17 percent annually on average over the last 24 months. This, she says, pushed the entry level price up from R480 000 to R650 000 and the trend looks set to continue. “Those purchasing now are still doing so off a very low base with a house in good condition and with a swimming pool and possibly even a cottage costing upwards of R800 000.” Executive homes with mountain views and luxury finishes have broken through the R2 million barrier, as evidenced by Jacob’s record sale of R2,1 million sale a few weeks ago.

Barberton’s Olde Worlde houses, which fetch prices of R650 000 and upwards in an unrenovated state, are popular and difficult to come by. “People are reluctant to sell because they buy and renovate the houses as a work of love,” she says.
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