Value for money coupled with a notable trend, particularly among Gauteng buyers, to relocate in pursuit of a better quality lifestyle, is helping boost demand in the residential property market in the scenic hamlet of Ladismith in the Klein Karoo.
Masood Husain, Pam Golding Properties area principal, says Ladismith's housing market is experiencing gradually increasing activity, despite the still challenging economic trading conditions.
"Previously, we found that the main demand was for farming-type property, with sales during the course of 2012 including a 24 hectare property which sold for R410 000 and a 1000 hectare property which sold for R1.9 million," he says.
International, local buyers
"Currently, however, the residential market is picking up and interestingly, includes a number of international buyers. These include buyers from Bahrain, the UK and Italy. In fact, the first two purchasers bought properties without actually viewing the properties on site until three to six months later. The buyer from Bahrain acquired the 24 hectares of vacant land mentioned above, the UK purchaser acquired a house for R1 million, while the buyer from Italy purchased 7.8 hectares of vacant land for R245 000."
Husain says to a large degree the demand for homes in Ladismith stems mainly from buyers from up north, generally business people who are tired of the stress of the 'rat race' and wish to escape to an easier, safer and healthier lifestyle. These buyers are mainly seeking property in the price range from R425 000 to R1.9 million.
"Close on their heels are Cape Town buyers looking to acquire weekend getaway properties, as Ladismith is a comfortable three-hour drive mostly along the R62.Secondary access is provided via the N2, attracting coastal visitors, while the town is about 45-60 minutes from Oudtshoorn, with its good shopping facilities and other amenities.
"We are also encouraged by the fact that local homebuyers are investing in local property, especially first time buyers - young couples with children - who are acquiring their own homes. Young people are coming here to work, mainly in one of the two major cheese factory outlets in town or as teachers. There are a number of schools in the area, including an excellent primary school. For others the appeal of buying a home is for retirement now or in the future, as in addition to the value-for-money, tranquillity and scenic surrounds, there is a good medical hospital centrally situated in town and helicopter facilities for any emergency situations."
Husain says the lure for home buyers is boosted by the sound value for money available. "We see many buyers seeking homes in the price range around R800 000, for which they can acquire a very comfortable three or four bedroom home. For approximately R1 million you can pick up luxury combined with classic style houses in beautiful, scenic settings - often with at least four bedrooms."
Property from the 1800's
At present, Pam Golding Properties (PGP) Ladismith is marketing a painstakingly restored house built in the second half of the 1800's, which is a Victorian example with the classic Georgian type architectural finishes and round ventilator openings known colloquially as 'Ladismith Eyes'. The house is centrally situated in Church Street and the current owner, an architect has gone to considerable lengths to restore the property with its generous rooms, high ceilings, Yellowwood floors, Oregon pine ceilings and thick walls - just some of the features and other treasures which make it this character home highly appealing and ideal for the hot Klein Karoo climate.
Known locally as 'Anna Naald's House', this home with historic interest has ample spacious rooms, including four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a large and sunny open-plan kitchen and living room, studio and separate office, double garage and attractive patio for relaxing in the shadow of the Towerkop mountain. There is also a separate cottage with guest potential, all set on a generous stand with an appealing garden. The property is priced at R1.49 million.
Other local attractions in Ladismith include De Oude Pastorie restaurant, recently awarded a fourth place ranking in the 2012 Klein Karoo Smulpaap-Toekennings / Gourmand Awards Top 20. There is also Koedoeskloof Country Lodge, a B&B complete with a superb biker's bar and scenic mountain and vineyard views, which is home to a couple who chose to escape busy city life in Gauteng, purchasing the property in 2011 through PGP. The town is also home to Mymering Wine Estate with its 4-Star guest house and working wine farm with some exciting new wines on the market.
Not far from the World Heritage Site of the Seweweekspoort mountain range, known for its annual mountain bike race held in October, Ladismith town hosts an annual Eco Festival and monthly street/farmers' market and also launched a cheese and wine festival last year in 2012 as well as a Bastille Day market.