Sedgefield joins slow movement
Cittaslow status has drawn keen interest in property, says agent
IF “GOING nowhere slowly” appeals to you, then you’ll be interested to know that Sedgefield, between Knysna and George on the Garden Route, is now officially accredited as South Africa’s slowest town, and with this new title is consolidating its position as a prime retirement town.
Cittaslow (literally Slow City), an international organisation started in Italy, has accepted Sedgefield as the first town in Africa to be part of an illustrious club of slow towns in countries the world over. These are towns that celebrate quality of life and diversity of cultures, conserve and promote their environment, and work to uplift the local community.
The population of a Cittaslow-accredited town cannot be over 50 000 – Sedgefield’s will hardly exceed 15 000.
Walter Bakker, Pam Golding Properties’ area principal, says Sedgefield is already a popular destination among people who are retiring.
“This accolade is good for our t ourism t rade and l ocal business, and the response to becoming a Cittaslow town has been positive.”
He said they‘d been receiving calls from people in their late 40s and early 50s who wanted to retire to Sedgefield and were looking for homes to buy – most enquiries were for homes in the R1 million-R1.8m price range.
One Joburg buyer was looking at a R4m property, and a Pretoria buyer was looking at a R1m vacant stand in the Cola Conservancy, said Bakker.
“What sur prises many future Sedgefielders is the exceptional value for money of p ro p e r t i e s. T h re e b e d ro o m townhouses, just a few minutes’ walk from Swartvlei, can be bought for R680 000.
“Two-and three-bedroom houses sell for around R1m and magnificent homes with spectacular sea and mountain views can be had for R2.99m.”
Swartvlei is the largest lake on the Garden Route and you can canoe from the Sedgefield estuary across Swartvlei and up the rivers. Access to the lake is mostly from private jetties and on some exceptional estates on the lake’s edge, including two properties for sale through PGP – a self-catering leisure home priced at R7.5m and an “architectural dream” at R11.6m.
“For people who want to build their own homes, vacant erven are available at the best prices in years. In the Cola Conservancy, which has sea and mountain views and is home to a variety of wild animals and birds, stands origi- nally marketed at R1.2m are n o w av a i l a b l e f o r u n d e r R900 000 and even lower. Other stands in the Cola Conservancy range from around 1 000m for a cliff-edge plot priced at under R2m and from R2.5m upwards for a sea-front stand.
“Plots set slightly back but with scenic sea views are priced from R1m to R1.5m for stands of around 800m
Bakker says that for semiretired people who want to keep busy – at a slower pace – there are some businesses available, including a secondhand bookshop priced at R295 000, a coffee and internet shop that attracts locals throughout the year priced at R450 000, and a well-stocked clothing shop at R350 000.
There is only one frail-care retirement village with a waiting list of about 200 people, so there is opportunity for develo p e r s t o d o s o me r e s e a r c h about the market demand for such accommodation.
“T hese are people who moved here when they were in their late 50s or early 60s, who have established a new social structure and don’t want to have to move to George or Mossel Bay.
“As a result there is a built- in buyers’ market of those who have reached their early to mid70s and are in need of a retirement village, with or without frail care,” says Bakker.
There is a state hospital and a Medi-Clinic in Knysna, 25km away, and also in George, 35km away, and Sedgefield has seve r a l medic a l p r a c t i t i o ne r s, including dentists, opticians and physiotherapists.
The town has three major banks and a wide variety of shopping facilities including a national supermarket brand, health shops, excellent restaurants and a well-known organic ve g e t a b l e a n d f o o d marke t every Saturday which attracts visitors from far and wide.
Bakker says potable water is no longer a problem as Sedgefield has the largest desalination plant in South Africa, a huge asset for an area which is susceptible to drought.
“With a low crime rate and numerous l ei s ure activit i es such as walking, cycling, bowling, tennis, twitching, fishing, arts and crafts, historical and drama societies, it’s not surprising the town is becoming increasingly popular.”
C a l l Wa l t e r B a k k e r on 044 3431 287 or e-mail walter. firstname.lastname@example.org
CHANGE OF PACE: Priced at R1.18 million, this brand new two-bedroom house has views to the Goukamma Nature Reserve.