SA international destination of choice

25 Sep 2013

Propelled into the global spotlight and often described as ‘the world in one country’ during the 2010 Soccer World Cup, South Africa retains its fascination as an international destination, as borne out by the growing number of tourists who visit its shores.  

Propelled into the global spotlight and often described as ‘the world in one country’ during the 2010 Soccer World Cup, South Africa retains its fascination as an international destination, as borne out by the growing number of tourists who visit its shores.

A reflection of the vast array of contrasting scenic locations across the length and breadth of the country is the broad range of residential property, which is available for home buyers to suit their own individual desires and requirements.

Dr Andrew Golding, CE of the Pam Golding Property (PGP) group, saysit’s no wonder that many international visitors, including and increasingly so from the African continent, find South Africa’s way of life and residential property so appealing – whether to relocate for permanent residence, retirement, for use during several months of the year as leisure homes, or for investment.

He says the PGP website receives on average 2 000 visits a day from potential international buyers alone, and they also receive numerous global enquiries through their association with UK property giant, Savills, which has some 500 offices in the UK and Ireland, United States, Europe, Asia, Australasia, India and the Middle East.

Charles Weston-Baker, Savills international residential director, says for many years they have enjoyed a long and fruitful association with Pam Golding Properties, which combines their exceptional depth of local market knowledge and coverage in South Africa and Africa with the worldwide reach of Savills.

He says Savills has undergone dynamic growth in recent years and their brand, with its distinctive yellow and red logo, now holds a powerful global position and therefore offers further comfort to international buyers looking to invest in residential property in South Africa and Africa through PGP.

Dr Golding says those who do acquire property in South Africa often choose to stay for long periods at a time or invest in commercial businesses, bringing direct foreign investment into the country through increased employment opportunities, improvements to properties or their own consumer spend.

He says they find an increasingly broad spread of countries around the globe are represented in those international buyers who buy property through them, with UK buyers traditionally the most prevalent.

“The balance is an interesting mix including African countries such as Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Nigeria, Congo DRC, Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, Gabon, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Ivory Coast and Namibia; European countries such as Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland; Asian countries like Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, India and Indonesia, as well as the United States, New Zealand and South America – even from the island of Barbados.”

He says over the past 12 months they’ve sold property to buyers from about 45 different countries around the world.

The prices of properties sold to international buyers also vary considerably, everything from small apartments priced from around R300 000 to high-end homes from R30 million and up to R110 million in Cape Town on the Atlantic Seaboard, he says.

In fact, the PGP Atlantic Seaboard office reports that over the past six months international buyers have re-entered the market in significant numbers and across all price ranges, ranging from modest leisure apartments to luxury penthouses and homes with renowned, scenic Cape Town views.

Laurie Wener, MD for PGP in the Western Cape, says with its high international profile as a sought-after tourism destination and desirable, cosmopolitan lifestyle, the Western Cape metropolitan area stands out as the area of preference for overseas buyers, particularly the Atlantic Seaboard with its beautiful beaches, ocean views and architecture. 

She says notable is that the spread of international buyers in this area originates not only from their traditional markets, such as the UK and continental Europe, but also increasingly with a stronger leaning towards buyers from Africa, the Middle East and China.

“In recent months we have concluded sales to buyers from Angola (R30 million in Camps Bay), Ghana (R21 million in Camps Bay), China (R22 million in Clifton), Nigeria (R25 million in the V&A Waterfront), UK (R21.5 million in Camps Bay), Germany (R31 million in Fresnaye), USA (R34.5 million in Bantry Bay) and at the top-end, a home in Fresnaye sold for R110 million to a buyer from the UAE.”

Wener says the top areas of choice are the Atlantic Seaboard, City Bowl, Southern Suburbs and the Western Seaboard, the latter mainly for lower priced sales under R2 million.

She says there is a dramatic increase in buyers from the rest of Africa, most likely attributable to increasing wealth in emerging economies and greater awareness of the quality of life on the southern tip of the African continent. Wener says their ultra top-end international buyers seek unique, exceptional properties with unobstructed, panoramic sea views and the highest degree of privacy available in these sought-after suburbs.

In the Cape’s historic Boland and Overberg regions, regional MD, Annien Borg says international buyers usually visit South Africa during the months of March/April and October/November.

She says they are receiving more enquiries from South African expats living in the UK who want to return home. She says in regard to wine farms, they are seeing a number of Chinese businessmen looking in the Cape Winelands, generally in the upper price range from R25 million upwards, as well as enquiries from large international companies from various countries for agricultural fruit farms.

In Gauteng, Jonathan Davies, joint area manager for PGP’s Hyde Park office in Sandton has also noted a diversification of buyers originating from a broader variety of countries.

He says among others, they are seeing interest from Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya and China and prices vary from R2 million to R50 million, depending on their requirements.

He says some are relocating for business reasons i.e. a job transfer, and they need to buy a home close to their office, others seek investments and look for a property with security and a good address with high rental yields.

“Others buy luxury accommodation for permanent accommodation or as a local home to use on visits to South Africa. At the top end of the market some ultra high net worth buyers look at heritage or iconic properties while others seek prestigious properties in suburbs such as Bryanston, Westcliff, Hyde Park and Sandhurst.”

Elsewhere in Gauteng, PGP sales to overseas buyers include a furnished apartment in Bedfordview sold for R2.2 million to an Angolan buyer for family use while in Johannesburg, a property in Saddlebrook Estate, Midrand, sold to a Chinese buyer for R6 million and in Kyalami Estate, Midrand, a home sold to a buyer from Mozambique for R10.8 million. In Fourways a home in Dainfern Valley was sold for R9.3 million to a Mozambican buyer for use as a Johannesburg base when in South Africa.

In Pretoria, regional executive for PGP, Retha Schutte says the most interest is from embassies and foreign missions, seeking property priced between R10 million and R25 million. Their requirements include large dining rooms to accommodate 12 to 24 people, flowing living and entertainment areas, a closed kitchen and set on a spacious stand with flowing lawns for marquees.

Schutte says Waterkloof and Waterkloof Ridge are the most popular areas with 17 embassies situated in one street in Waterkloof Ridge alone. In addition, she says investors from African countries such as Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria are seeking blocks of flats and commercial property for investment purposes.

In KwaZulu-Natal PGP has noticed growing interest in the Point Waterfront, with an apartment in The Spinnaker recently sold for R1.9 million to a Ugandan buyer, while on the Garden Route PGP’s Knysna office reports a number of sales to international buyers. These include a property on Leisure Isle sold for R2.4 million to a UK buyer, a home on Thesen Islands which was sold to a UK buyer for R9.8 million, and properties in Pezula Private Estate sold for R5.6 million (a home) and R14 million (vacant land) to buyers from Switzerland and the USA respectively.

Pam Golding Lodges and Guesthouses (PGLAG) report that their international buyers, who are still mainly from Europe, namely Holland, Germany, France and the UK, often include those who have had a good 20 to 30 years working for large corporate companies and desire a change in lifestyle.

Peter Bruil, MD for PGLAG, says they’re typically interested in buying a guesthouse in South Africa as it affords access to a lifestyle they could not necessarily enjoy in their own country, plus the exchange rate is attractive. He says they seek to live from the proceeds of the business and still have time to enjoy all the country has to offer.

He says the current trend indicates that international buyers still prefer guesthouses with anything from five to eight rooms, with the average price of enquiries around R8 million.

“They prefer the style or interior of the establishment to be true to South Africa, either Colonial-style or Cape Dutch exterior mixed with a modern African interior.’

Bruil says the Western Cape is without a doubt the most popular area particularly the Cape Town central city, Atlantic Seaboard, Cape Winelands, Somerset West and Hermanus. He says the location is key as they are looking to service the tourism market. 

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