The best places in SA to escape the rat race

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Not sure if you have enough money to drop out of the rat race? There are still plenty places in South Africa that you can escape to without breaking the bank.

Building chateaus in the sky

You know those ‘it's too good to be true’ moments? Well, we had one the other day when we read a report in Britain’s Daily Mail about a couple who swapped their two bedroom flat in Essex for a 45 roomed French chateau, paying a measly €390 000 (around R6.2-million) for the privilege.

We don't know what's more surprising about this whole affair: that a two bedroom flat sells for R6.2-million in the UK or that you can actually buy a magnificent, historical property in the middle of the French countryside for such a paltry sum.

There are downsides of course and although properties like this appear to be readily available, they tend to be located in remote areas and cost a fortune to maintain. In other words, while it may be possible to live in the lap of luxury, the reality of funding that lifestyle (can you imagine the electricity bill?) could lead to bankruptcy.

Fortunately, a change in lifestyle doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune. In fact, in South Africa moving to the ‘country’ or opting to invest in a seaside property doesn't have to break the bank and you may well find that you get more bang for your property buck when you invest outside major centres.

St Francis Bay

Home in St Francis BayA 3 bedroom home like this will cost under R1 million in St Francis Bay

While a home in Clifton or Bantry Bay will never be a reality for the large majority of South Africans, this doesn't mean they will never be able to afford a home at the seaside. Take St Francis Bay for example. This village, complete with its own canals, a gorgeous small harbour and a wealth of outstanding homes, has to be one of the more beautiful places in the country. And yet despite all this, property prices there remain remarkably reasonable. Private Property statistics indicate that the average asking price of a freehold home is R1.8-million. Apartments are on the market for an average price of R1.55-million while the average listing price of a property in a gated community is around the R2.4-million mark.

View this home here.

Graaff Reinet

Street in Graaff ReinetMain street in Graaff Reinet

Of course seaside living isn't for everyone. Graaff Reinet in the Eastern Cape is a picturesque historical town in the middle of the Karoo. Typically, a three-bedroom home will be listed for R1-million. Although sectional title homes make up a very small proportion of available stock, the average listing price of this type of property is around R960 000.

View properties available in Graaff Reinet

Sabie

Home in SabieThis 4 bedroom Sabie home is on the market for R1.2 million

If moving to the Karoo seems a little extreme, you could always look at something that's a little closer to a larger centre. The popular tourist town of Sabie is situated amidst some of the most scenic landscape in the country. Toss in the fact that it's a stone’s throw away from the Kruger National Park and it becomes even more attractive. Despite all this, property prices have remained on the low side and at this stage the average asking price of a three-bedroom home is about R895 000.

View this home here

Bulwer

Home in BulwerRelax amidst the mountains in KZN

For those looking for something that's close to the mountains there's always Bulwer. Situated in KwaZulu-Natal, the village is the ideal place for those who enjoy fly fishing or who merely want to relax and indulge in a bit of birdwatching. The average listing price of a freehold home is currently R602 000 while one bedroom flats are listed for an average of R472 500.

View this home here

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