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Semigration Drives Higher Demand For Karoo Property

  • 6 min read

The beautiful landscape and safe, laid-back lifestyle of the Karoo countryside continues to attract more buyers according to the Seeff Property Group.

Ian Badenhorst, managing director for Seeff Country and Karoo says aside from local residents and retirees, agents are also seeing a semigration trend with many either moving to, or investing in the small towns. Buyers are not just of older persons, but even younger families looking for a more wholesome family environment. Here, children can still play in the streets and ride their bicycles to school.

The semigration of people to the small towns has added enormously in terms of small businesses such as art and antique stores, boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants, guest houses and more. This in turn has created more attractions and drawn tourists, opening a whole new industry, says Badenhorst.

Besides more affordably priced property there are often also cost of living savings to be had in the smaller towns as rates and taxes are lower and insurance costs may also be lower. Additionally, you are able to find local food, often free range and fresh produce.

Jan Verlinde, licensee for Seeff Oudtshoorn confirms the trend and says there is now strong demand from semigration buyers who are looking to relocate to Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo. About 20% to 25% of our Seeff’s buyers over the last two years have been from large cities, Mostly Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Oudtshoorn is enticing tourists and semigration buyers

While historical sandstone buildings and ostriches entice tourists to visit, semigration is enticing for city folk due to the carefree, peaceful living that Oudtshoorn offers.

He says they mostly buy large family homes, and occasionally smallholdings, although smallholding stock is limited. Seeff has sold several properties to semigration buyers ranging from R2 million to R3 million, which is high-end for Oudtshoorn.

Semigration has also boosted demand for rental properties because many would choose to rent while they look around before buying. Security estates are also in demand. The main underlying principle is to provide a better life for their families, he says further.

If you can still work remotely, why would anyone want to live in an expensive, fast-paced, perhaps dangerous city? Oudtshoorn is a very safe town, children can still play outside and ride their bikes in the streets without giving their parents anxiety. With several top quality schools, children can still receive the individual attention that they deserve.

He also says not spending hours in traffic offers many advantages, both physical and mental. Lack of traffic and polluting factories means the air is clean, which is an obvious health advantage. Instead of spending their valuable time in traffic, buyers are now choosing areas where they can rather spend their time with their families.

Another benefit is that properties in Oudtshoorn are comparatively low priced compared to larger towns and cities. Verlinde says: “why settle for a two-bedroomed apartment in a city when, for the same price, you can have a 3-bedroomed home with a swimming pool in Oudtshoorn?”

He also says the reason that so many sporting events are held in Oudtshoorn – from cycling and swimming to athletics – apart from the facilities and nature, is the climate. While rain is always welcomed, sunshine is in abundance in Oudtshoorn and makes planning a family outing easy.

Oudtshoorn is world-famous for the ostrich feather boom of the 1800s and 1900s, however, it is not a town that is dwelling in the past. Verlinde says new developments, such as Pepperwood Lifestyle Estate and Tribeca Estate offer brand new homes, ranging from semi-detached with one bedroom to freestanding, three-bedroomed, double garage homes.

Modern properties range from R1.6 million to R2.5 million for large three-bedroom homes, while smaller homes are even more affordable. While the new developments offer luxury, heritage sandstone homes are regularly seen on the market and are comparatively cheap. A sandstone home can be yours from as little as R1.2 million. Whatever your taste and needs, Oudtshoorn has the perfect home, he says.

With tourism finally recovering after COVID, now is an ideal time to invest in a guesthouse either in town, at the pristine Karoo veld, or en route to the world-famous Cango Caves!

Ladismith, an agricultural centre in the Klein Karoo

Sonja Claassen from Seeff Ladismith adds to the positive sentiment about countryside property. She says further that the location on the famous Route 62 makes it popular. It is mostly a farming community with milk, wine, flowers, and mutton. There are also two cheese factories (Parmalat and Ladismith Cheese) and the Ladismith Wine Cellar for tasting, and cellar tours.

House prices range from R800,000 for a small house to around R2.4 million for a large home, and farms from R2.7 million to R24 million for a 200-ha farm with extensive infrastructure which produces export-quality fruit.

Graaff-Reinet, a landmark town in the Karoo Heartland

Famous for its more than 200 heritage buildings including the Drostdy Hotel, all excellent examples of early Cape architecture, the Camdeboo National Park surround the beautiful town.

Lynette McNaughton, an agent with Seeff Graaff-Reinet says there is a choice of pretty architectural houses on the market priced from R1.2 million to R2.2 million on average. Top end houses (often guest houses with multiple rooms) range to around R5 million to R6.5 million. Farms range from R6.1 million to R24 million offering a mix of commercial and lifestyle opportunities.

Middelburg is another great choice and midway point in the Karoo Heartland

According to Barbara Van Zyl from Seeff Middelburg the town offers excellent value for weekend homes and is ideal for older buyers. The town is close to Graaff-Reinet and offers great amenities such as restaurants and sports such as tennis, bowling, golf, horse riding, and also river rafting. Prices range from R500,000 to around R2.2 million for a large eleven-bedroomed guest house, and farms from R3 million to R15.75 million for a Karoo farm with a guest house.

Calvinia is a star-gazer’s haven in the Upper Karoo

Flip Augustyn, an agent with Seeff Calvinia says the area enjoys 80% starlight and offers Karoo living at its best. Prices range from R500,000, and farms from R1.5 million to R20 million depending on the extent and location of the farm.