Rural winelands lifestyle still has appeal
Demand for Cape farms and smallholdings remains strong
MANY South Africans have a year ning for the rural life, especially if this can be combined with their usual dayto-day work activities, and this has fuelled a strong demand for agricultural properties in the Boland, says Gerrit van Heerden, Rawson Properties’ new Paarl-based agricultural agent.
“Demand has kept prices here high, particularly in areas within an hour-and-a-half ’s drive from Cape Town. We have a l mo s t d a i l y e n q u i r i e s f o r smallholdings two to six hectares in size, but some buyers are shocked to learn that in the Paarl and N1 area they may have to pay anything from R4 million to R10m – and 50 percent to 100 percent more if they are hoping to buy near Stellenbosch or Franschhoek.
“ H o w e v e r, p r i c e s h a v e stabilised over the last year or so and there are some real value buys which were not obtainable previously.”
He says five to 10 years ago many buyers of agricultural smallholdings were prepared to be just land investors, expecting almost no return on their capital other than that which they got back if they eventually sold. The aim was simply to have a country lifestyle.
He says this has changed since the recession. Buyers are usually looking for smallholdings on which wine grapes, fruit or, recently, olives are or can be grown and give a return of 10 percent a year. Also, they don’t expect to wait too long.
Many are looking for the sort of rural retreat on which they can run a B&B, a guest house or functions facility, and a f ai r number want e nough land to stable and keep horses.
Those looking for smallholdings make up perhaps 85 percent of Rawson’s agricultural buyers list. The other 15 percent want viable traditionally sized farms – anything from 10 to 300ha. Van Heerden’s properties are mostly in the Paarl/Wellington area, but he has others in Villiersdorp and Stellenbosch and will expand his territory in due course.
“Everyone knows that the wine i ndustry has t oo many producers in SA and worldwide – and yet, surprisingly, there is s t i l l a s t r o n g c a l l f o r wi n e farms with or without their own wineries. These can find buyers for their crops through the co-ops and wine producers who want to make subtle changes to their blends. A good wine crop will still sell for around R3 000 a ton, even in today’s tough market.
“ Cer t ai n buyers are now hoping to cash in on the new demand f or ol ives. With t he growing realisation that food cooked in olive oil is often tastier and healthier than that cooked in animal fats, the demand for olives is growing in SA and in Europe.
“Other buyers are looking for agricultural land where there is a possibility that rezoning will allow for development. Certain areas such as Klapmuts appear to be ideal for this but rezonings are few and far between – and can take years.”
He says buyers with limited knowledge of farming can survive in the increasingly sophisticated and competitive agricultural sector, if they employ good agricultural consultants.
Agents selling agricultural property should be knowledgeable about farming matters and can help potential buyers do cost and resources analyses and feasibility studies.
“Selling a farm is not like s e l l i ng a hous e. I t c a n t a ke months of discussion and negot i a t i o n . Fa r mi n g i s o f t e n a hi g h-r i s k ve nt ure a nd g o o d agents will cost out the possible scenarios, but farm products are rising in price and a farm lifestyle is one of the best available.”
Rawson’s Paarl franchise has about 20 smallholdings and 32 productive farms on offer in a t e r r i t o r y s t r e t c hi ng f r o m P a a rl / We l l i n g t o n t o F r a n - schhoek and Stellenbosch, ranging from R3m to R75m.
Call Gerrit van Heerden on 083 658 7474.
IDYLLIC: Rawson Properties’ Paarl franchise is marketing a 5,9ha Paarl smallholding bordering the Berg River, with accommodation for 12 people in comfortable outside guest rooms.