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Despite concern about drought and land security, agricultural prices are soaring in Western Cape

While the impact of the drought and concerns about land security are no doubt affecting the agricultural property sector, most Western Cape farming areas continue about their business with property continuing to see high demand.

This is according to Ian Badenhorst, managing director of Seeff Country and Karoo, who says most high demand areas have seen their property values rise by 50% to 100% over the past five years.

The province has a vibrant farming and agricultural sector with a broad mix of farming, from wine and olives to wheat, grain, fruit and vegetables and livestock and dairy, and he says that productive farmland is usually “snapped up” by neighbouring farmers as there is a shortage to meet farming needs.

“Smaller farms, and especially lifestyle farms, continue to be sought after and attract buyers from across the country, often as a getaway or holiday property, and some for guest house purposes.”

Seeff Riversdale’s Willie van Rensburg says smaller lifestyle farms in the area are in demand and sell for around R400000 per hectare on average, while the price of productive commercial farmland has doubled over the past five years, from R25000/ha to R50000/ha.

On the Garden Route, Riversdale is about three and a half hours’ drive from Cape Town, and farming in the area includes wheat, cattle, ostriches, wildflowers and honeybush tea.

“Although prices can range to well over R40million, you can expect to pay around R6.995m for a spectacular 5.27ha lifestyle farm.”

Barrydale, which is about three hours’ drive from Cape Town between the Cape Overberg and Klein Karoo, is another popular farming area, and boasts a climate ideal for fruit production with apples, pears, oranges, apricots, figs, peaches and grape orchards all over the valley, says Seeff’s Johan van Eeden. In addition to commercial farms, the area is also popular for lifestyle farms and smallholdings. Land values have risen by about 50% over the past five years.

“While prices can now reach up to R35m for a top farm, you can still find a fabulous 589ha farm, ideal for game farming, for just R3.15m.”

Closer to Cape Town, about two and a half hours’ drive and on the popular R62 tourism route, is the fertile Bonnievale area where products include wine, cheese and fruit. Aside from wineries and a cheese factory, the area is home to landmarks such as the Langeberg and Riviersonderend mountains as well as the Breede River.

“The town achieved the highest economic growth in the Western Cape as at mid-2017 and the area continues to be on an upward growth trajectory,” says Neil Rademeyer from Seeff Bonnievale.

Prices of agricultural property tend to be influenced by factors such as the availability of water and quality of the soil, but the area currently achieves R400000 to R450000/ha for a property with good water sources. The price of a 441.24ha productive farm is about R11.45m.

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