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Back Farmingnews Farmer John Says Thousands of South African farms for sale
22 Jan 2016

Thousands of South African farms for sale

In South Africa's water-stressed provinces thousands of farms have been put up for sale, but it is unclear whether the country’s worst drought in 20 years is behind this. Seeff country MD Ian Badenhorst, speculates that "overseas buyers have lost interest in South African farms because of political and financial instability in the country."
A cursory search through Private Property, one of SA’s largest online property listing platforms, shows large numbers of farms for sale. Some are being auctioned, while others have been repossessed by banks.
As of last Thursday 14 January, Private Property had 5,000 listings for farms in Gauteng; 3,485 in the Western Cape; 2,207 in the North West; and 1,955 in Limpopo.
Last year, parts of the North West and Limpopo were declared disaster areas because of a drought described as the worst in 20 years. KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Free State have also been declared drought disaster areas.
However, whether the large number of farms being sold has anything to do with the drought is a matter of debate.
This is despite the farmers’ loan book being estimated at a record of more than R125bn, with PwC placing non-performing loans at 2.8% by the end of June.
Total lending by SA’s major banks exceeds R3.29-trillion.
"While some farmers are facing challenging conditions, many are hanging in there, especially in areas such as Middelburg," said Badenhorst.
The properties listed on Private Property appeared to include "lifestyle farms", such as boutique wine farms, which take up less land than full-scale commercial ones.
"There are many of those on the market, often because sellers are looking to either reduce their property holdings, retire or relocate, but not necessarily because of the drought," Mr Badenhorst said.
Nico Groenewald, head of agribusiness at Standard Bank, said the bank had not seen any mortgages cancelled on commercial farms, which happens when a bonded property is sold. "South African farmers have demonstrated resilience and adapted to changing production conditions," he said.
Pam Golding Properties said it was premature to determine if the drought would result in more farms coming on to the market.
Gerhard van Niekerk, the area principal in Mpumalanga for Pam Golding Properties, said there was strong demand from buyers for macadamia farms and for land suitable for planting the crop. Fresh /Bd
Last modified on Friday, 22 January 2016 06:16
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