Ru­ral winelands life­style still has ap­peal

De­mand for Cape farms and small­hold­ings re­mains strong

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

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.

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