Insights

Sustainable living driving purchases of agricultural properties

Sustainable living has never been more on-trend. The growing urgency of the climate crisis, and the increased awareness about the impact of individuals and industries on the environment, means that more and more people are determined that their private spaces – like homes – should be multi-purpose. This is one of the factors keeping the agricultural property market buoyant.

As societies around the world become more environmentally conscious about the depleting natural resources around us, sustainable living is gaining momentum.

For those people living in cities, this could include walking instead of taking a bus, a train or a taxi. Using (small) indoor hydroponic greenhouses to grow vegetables and herbs, or taking up urban farming and growing food on terraces, in communal spaces like courtyards and parks, or on rooftops. And there has been a boom in apps facilitating sharing surplus food or second-hand items within urban communities.

But there’s another approach, one which Pam Golding Properties agricultural agent in Paarl, Johan Truter, has discovered is driving interest in the Western Cape. He’s referring to the trend towards dual- or multi-purpose living.

According to Johan, he’s experienced strong interest in farm land recently, especially in the smallholding and lifestyle farm markets.

“People have discovered how easy it is for them to work from home, they’re moving out of the city and its suburbs to the more rural towns and surrounds where they believe they can live a more sustainable lifestyle,” he says.

“Another attraction for making the move is the high profitability of small crops like blueberries and vegetable farming. Moving to a smallholding or lifestyle farm means they can live, work and run a successful agricultural business from one location. Incorporating energy and water-efficient solutions into their buildings and activities reduces their impact on the environment further.”

Johan’s experience in Paarl is echoed by Clarence and Odette Collins, Pam Golding Properties’ agricultural agents in Stellenbosch.

They report demand for their agricultural listings has remained constant throughout the recent autumn and winter months, particularly for well-known commercial wine estates and lifestyle estates, and especially for those in Stellenbosch.

The town and its scenic surrounds remain highly sought after, most notably its Golden Triangle nestling on the slopes of both the Stellenbosch and Helderberg Mountains as well as Banhoek and Jonkershoek Valley.

They say buyers continue to come from both the business’ internal and local pools of high net-worth individuals and families. The reasons for their acquisitions are unchanged from previous years, they are investing in well-known wine estates, relocating for business, or wanting to change their lifestyle (or add another facet to it).

“It is worth noting that current listing prices are at the high end or, at a minimum, at value,” says Odette. “However, depending on the circumstances and the motivation for selling, in our experience, sellers are willing to adjust prices accordingly.”

“The sale process of agricultural properties can be very complex,” says Clarence. He therefore advises sellers to have all the documentation (such as original title deeds, water rights, building plans, regulatory licenses and approval certificates, for example) to hand before going to market so that they can expedite any favourable opportunity that presents itself.

“For buyers, we suggest they familiarise themselves with the area, local bylaws, and make sure that municipal and regulatory approvals are in place for both its current use and the intended future use if they have further development in mind,” he suggests.

Posted by The Know - Pam Golding Properties