A bush lifestyle, subtropical climate and proximity to urban conveniences are some of the reasons high-end buyers and those simply wanting a country lifestyle are investing in luxury and other estates in the Lowveld.
Home to four of SA’s 10 best wildlife estates according to a recent New World Wealth Report, the Mpumalanga Lowveld is becoming a favoured area of investment with home buyers from all over South Africa.
“Over the past year especially, we have seen an increase in home purchases in most of the estates close to Nelspruit and White River,” says Ramona Grimbeeck, principal at Chas Everitt Lowveld. “And while most buyers are local executives and professionals, a significant percentage are people relocating from Gauteng and elsewhere.”
This is because more people than ever before are working from home and have traded the city lights for a more peaceful and wholesome lifestyle. People have realised they can run their companies from a home office instead of commuting to work every day.
LAP OF LUXURY
Luxury estates such as Leopard Creek, Mjejane, Likweti and Elephant Point, which are all on New World Wealth’s Top 10 list, are major draw-cards for high-end buyers keen to own homes in the world-famous wildlife zone close to the Kruger National Park, while being able to fly in and out via the KMI airport if necessary. The area is home to popular schools, including Uplands College on the doorstep of the White River Country Estate, Penryn College, White River Primary, Rob Ferreira High, Flamboyant and King’s College.
The Lowveld’s subtropical climate is sought-after, especially for retirees, and most homes are only a 30 to 40 minute drive from a Kruger National Park entrance. “As the capital of Mpumalanga, Nelspruit houses most of the provincial government offices, and offers a good mix of property types and excellent value for money across the board,” says Grimbeek.
Stands in lifestyle estates are available from below R400,000, and in the sought-after Matumi Golf Estate or Shandon Wildlife Estate for less than R800,000. Prices for new one- and two-bedroom apartments in developments such as Olive Grove start at around R700,000, although there are older sectional title units available for less, while duplex townhouses in the new Matumi Valley development by Craft Homes are priced at R1.3m to R2.4m.
Grimbeeck says the most active price bracket currently is R1.5m to R2.5m and that prices for large three-bedroom homes in older upmarket suburbs start at around R1.8m, while two-bedroom retirement cottages are available for around R1.5m. In White River, two-bedroom apartments in a lifestyle estate are available from around R650,000, and three- and four-bedroom family homes in Parkville, close to schools, are available from R1.75m to R2m.
In the most popular estates, three- to six-bedroom homes are priced at between R3.5m and R6m, and several guesthouses are for sale from R7m to around R13m. Homes in the upmarket White River Country Estate and Likweti Bushveld Farm Estate start at R3.3m and range up to R7.7m
RECENT LIFESTYLE ESTATE TRENDS IN SA
Based on the latest estimates (for June 2021), 48% of South African HNWIs either live or have second homes on lifestyle estates. This percentage has been rising steadily over the past decade – in 2011 it stood at around 30%.
- Affluent buyers in SA are increasingly moving towards estates that have apartments. In line with this, most new luxury estate developments in SA focus on apartment living rather than houses.
- There is a general movement away from traditional golf estates and towards wildlife and parkland estates. Retirement estates (for over 60s) are also becoming more popular.
- Most developers are now creating small neighbourhoods within their lifestyle estates, as opposed to the old model where houses were spaced evenly around the entire property. The new model allows for more parkland and open spaces between neighbourhoods.
Notable lifestyle estate trends linked to the coronavirus pandemic include:
Lifestyle estates with parklands and wilderness areas have become more popular (as buyers seek more open space).
Many HNWIs have chosen to work remotely and live in smaller towns. For instance, a large number of South African HNWIs are now working remotely from affluent small towns such as Hermanus, Plettenberg Bay and Franschhoek. Lifestyle estates in these towns have benefited.
Source: Africa Wealth report 2022