You can ditch the city for the country life and still be close enough to the Cape metro, says the Seeff Property Group.
Excellent road infrastructure such as the R27 West Coast Road, N7 which now extends to Malmesbury, N1 and N2 highways mean an easy commute to these top six commuter towns - from Yzerfontein/Langebaan on the West Coast to Malmesbury in the Swartland, Franschhoek, Tulbagh and Somerset West in the Winelands/Boland to Suurbraak in the Swellendam Overberg region, you are spoilt for choice.
And while offering a laid-back, wholesome lifestyle, you are still close to excellent schools and amenities. A fabulous seaside, vineyard or country lifestyle can be enjoyed from as little as one to two hours from the city says Pierre Germishuys, Licensee for Seeff Winelands, Boland and West Coast.
Technological advancement and flexi-work means you can operate from just about anywhere, making buyers more mobile. Rapid urbanisation and the resulting challenges are likely to drive more buyers to move their families out of the city, or to take advantage of the wholesome lifestyle on offer just outside the city, he says.
Choose to go permanent, or invest in a second home or weekend getaway and you will find postcard vistas, unspoilt coastal living, vineyards and rolling farmlands and with prices levelling out, it is a great time to set your investment radar on these towns and villages:
1) Yzerfontein/Langebaan - best for living by the sea
Close to Blouberg and offering an unspoilt coastal lifestyle with basic necessities and restaurants, but no commercialisation, says Michelle Livingstone-Louw, a Seeff agent.
Prices range from R1.8m-R6m to about R28m for a super luxury beach house offering 1,397sqm under roof on a plot of 1,620sqm. The elevated architectural masterpiece offers magnificent sea vistas and grand proportions, features and finishes. Extras include a separate Asian kitchen and small dining area with a Teppan grill, indoor heated pool with humidifiers and bathroom facilities, grand staircase that leads to an upstairs open studio/pyjama lounge with a coffee station and ceramic cooker, wine cellar, snooker room, double glazed glass with roller shutters throughout, automation and much more.
Nearby Langebaan offers easy access to Vredenburg and Saldanha. Marelize Huysamen and Lorna Watters from Seeff says the golf estate offers good investment opportunities right now in the R1.5m-R8m range. It includes a Gary Player golf course and driving range, gym, swimming pool, bowling greens, restaurants, conference and events centre and hiking and mountain biking trails.
2) Malmesbury - best for super-fast commuting
The administrative centre for the Swartland farming district, Malmesbury now offers super-fast commuting via the N7 to the city in under an hour. The Riebeek Wine and Olive Valley is just down the road and the town boasts excellent schools, a golf club, shopping and services and more.
Nastassja Koch from Seeff says it is ideal for families and is attracting buyers from all over, especially Cape Town's northern suburbs and Gauteng. Affordability is a key feature with older houses with big yards on offer in the R1.4m-R1.8m range. Tafelzicht and Die Wingerd offers modern houses and there's also a choice of historic houses and a few estates such as Glen Lily South with its BoKaap-styled designs and plots from just R255,000.
Older houses can be rented from R8,500-R10,000/month and ranging to R13,000 for modern properties. Apartments range from R4,000-R6,500 for two-bed units.
3) Franschhoek - best for wine lovers
As if the mountains and prestigious wine farms are not reason enough, Franschhoek offers a trendy cosmopolitan vibe and is ideal for families according to Tania van Deemter. It is close to Paarl and Stellenbosch and an easy hour's commute to the city.
It is one of the most prestigious addresses in the country and offers a mix of Cape Dutch heritage and vernacular architecture with properties ranging from sectional title and freehold property to exclusive lifestyle and vineyard estates.
Prices range from R1.6m-R6m, with luxury and estate homes priced above this to about R20m (and more depending on the property) for a top estate home with its own private vineyard. Wine and lifestyle farms are a popular option, often as they come with accommodation and tourism potential. Expect to pay from around R9m to R42.5m for a top 11.9ha farm with a four-bed manor house and a 4-star rated six-bed guest house located on the Franschhoek River.
4) Tulbagh - best for history aficionados
An easy commute of under two hours, lies the scenic Tulbagh Wine Valley where you can find excellent value and some of the finest examples of Cape Dutch heritage architecture, says Nelia Retief, Seeff agent for the area.
There's plenty of residential properties, priced from just R800,000 to R4,995m for a rare historic house, No. 26 Church Street which is on the market for just R4,995m. It was the final residence of Christo Coetzee, a SA assemblage and Neo-Baroque Artist until his death on the 12thNovember 2000. It is a National Monument, dating from 1796 and was restored along with the barn he used as a studio. It opened as the Christo Coetzee House Museum and Gallery in August 2011. The barn has access from Tulbagh's main road and between the house and barn is a duplex studio apartment and outside kitchen. There is also a private courtyard and single garage. The art is also for sale, but not included in the price.
5) Somerset West - best for family life
Dinis Martins, licensee for Seeff says you cannot beat the value proposition of Somerset West. It is barely half an hour from the city and offers stunning vistas of the Helderberg Mountains and surrounding vineyards and is home to some of the oldest and most prestigious wine estates such as Lourensford and Vergelegen located in the heart of the town.
The town offers a cosmopolitan lifestyle with top schools and excellent amenities including a regional shopping centre and private hospital. While highly sought-after by families and retirees, the close proximity to the airport makes it a haven for foreign owned second homes and golf lovers for the top class Erinvale Golf Estate.
You can generally find a really nice property in the R2.4 to R2.8m range with security and lifestyle (including wine and olive) estates priced above this at around R3,5m-R9m and luxury houses to around R40m.
6) Suurbraak (Swellendam) - best for off-the-grid living
If you're looking for off-the-grid living, then head to Suurbraak, an 1812 little historic missionary village located after Swellendam just off the N2 on the way to the Garden Route.
It lies in in a fold of the Langeberg Mountains just down from the incredible Tradouw Pass and offers incredible vistas according to Val Anderton and Marinda Roux from Seeff Swellendam. Here, people still cook on wood-burning stoves, use donkey-drawn ploughs and horses and carts to get around.
For around R2.65m, you can find a newly built eco home which operates off the grid with a high-tech solar system and ample supply of water. It is an ideal weekend cottage and comes with two bedrooms, stunning living areas with a fireplace and stack doors opening to a patio, entertainment lapa and eco swimming pool, storeroom and laundry and double carport. The upstairs main bedroom opens to a deck with an open-air bath and the 1672sqm plot is fully fenced.
Find Seeff on the property portals or visit www.seeff.com.
PROP1 - Yzerfontein - R28m for a magnificent 1397sqm beach house with spectacular features and finishes and ocean vistas as far as the eye can see
PROP3 - Franschhoek - R42.5m for a magnificent 11.9ha farm with a 4-bed manor house and a 4-star rated 6-bed guest house on the Franschhoek River
PROP4 - Tulbagh - R4.995m for the No. 26 Church Street, a rare historic Cape Dutch National Monument which serves as the Christo Coetzee Museum and Gallery
PROP5 - Somerset West - R18m for a fabulous home in sought-after Erinvale Golf Estate with 4 bedrooms suites, a guest suite, pool and more
PROP6 - Suurbraak/Swellendam - R2.65m for a newly built off-the-grid two-bed eco-home with an outdoor bath and swimming pool in a historic missionary village