Agricultural land purchases for alternative uses â€“ evidence from two farming areas in the Western Cape province, South Africa
Purchases of agricultural land for diverse reasons, such as recreation or aesthetic appeal (collectively referred to as lifestyle purposes), has implications for agricultural land valuations, commercial agriculture and the acquisition of land for redistribution purposes. This paper reports on the extent of purchases of agricultural land for diverse reasons within an intensive and extensive agricultural farming area in the Western Cape, gathered through a survey of land buyers between January 2005 and October 2007. Descriptive statistics provide demographical information of buyers, their reasons for purchasing farms and the importance of specific characteristics of agricultural properties considered in such purchases. Analyses of variance convey more information regarding the different characteristics of agricultural properties considered by agricultural and lifestyle buyers. Survey results indicated that farm purchases for alternative purposes were substantial: more than half of all transactions in both the intensive and extensive area were for lifestyle reasons. Lifestyle buyers mostly rely on income from outside the agricultural sector for their livelihoods and financing of purchased properties, therefore they could focus on characteristics of farms unrelated to commercial agricultural production in their decision to buy agricultural properties. Characteristics such as the recreational opportunities provided by the property and its aesthetic beauty, including natural scenery, beautiful views and locations within a valley and set against a mountain, appealed to these buyers.
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