Good planning will keep Montagu peaceful

If you want to live in a picturesque country town that won’t soon be spoiled by over-development, then Montagu in the Western Cape would be a very good choice.

“Although it is a growing town, Montagu is very sensitive about new development,” says Beulah Liebenberg, owner of the local Chas Everitt International licence. “It is one of the few towns that still have smallholdings right in the town with a minimum sub-division limit of 8500sqm. There are also large stands of between 1200sqm and 2500sqm left undivided. And the few security estates there are here generally consist of only four to six freehold homes.”

Home prices in the town, she says, start at around R800 000 to R1m for cottages in need of some renovation. These are popular with middle-aged buyers investing in preparation for their retirement.

Family homes with three bedrooms and two bathrooms sell for between R1,1m and R1,5m, while luxury homes will fetch up to R2,5m. “The family homes are increasingly being bought by young parents attracted by good schools and a safe and relaxed environment in which to bring up their children. In most cases the breadwinners of these families work from home or commute regularly to a distant city, some even overseas.”

Liebenberg says land prices in the town start at around R350 000 to R550 000 for stands of 2500sqm and more, and that 1ha vacant smallholdings are available for around R 950 000 to R1m, often with an orchard, vineyard or olive grove. “These are sought-after because of the low tax rates on agricultural property and the fact that you can build more than one home on the land to accommodate different generations of the same family. Houses with a separate cottage are also in demand for the same reason.”

As for business opportunities, she says there are guesthouses for sale at prices from around R2,3,m right up to R7m, and that the area along the main section of the R62 that runs through Montagu is slowly being commercialised to cater for the drive-through tourists on this popular route.

“However, there are also strict rules when any of the historical buildings here are turned into business ventures, because one of the main attractions of Montagu - for tourists as well as homebuyers - is that it has kept its essential character.

“None of the residents want to see spreads of townhouses or big new estates. In fact there is currently only one new housing development under way here, next to the nature reserve on the slopes of the Langeberg overlooking the town. And approval has only been given for 65 new homes to be built in this development, all subject to strict architectural and environmental guidelines.”

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