Global interest in SA property rises

People all over the world are showing an increasing interest in SA property, as evidenced by a huge rise recently in the amount of international traffic to local property websites.

For example, international traffic has comprised 60% of the visits to, the website of the national RealNet estate agency group, over the past six months, with enquiries coming from 1663 cities, mostly in the UK, Europe and the Middle East, but also in Africa, Australia, the Far East and the US.

“And this is not just because of the additional publicity the country is getting as the host of the Soccer World Cup, although that does play a role,” says RealNet marketing support manager Piet Olivier.

“Other factors in play are the fact that many SA expats are now coming back home, and SA’s growing reputation as a country offering a great lifestyle and great economic opportunities. Most of the people that have been enquiring about properties here are planning to move to SA and live here permanently, not just to visit as a tourist.”

The rise in SA’s popularity is reflected in the 2009 Expat Experience report recently published by HSBC bank, in which the country was rated the sixth best place for people living and working overseas following a survey of UK and other expats in more than 50 countries.

They were asked to rank these countries in lifestyle categories like finding accommodation, finding schools for children, banking, food, healthcare, setting up utilities and making local friends, and Canada, Australia and Thailand were named as the top three, followed by Singapore and Bahrain.

The US, Spain, Switzerland and Germany all ranked lower than SA and the UK – a favourite choice for SA expats – only managed to place 23rd. (See the Expat Zone on for more information on this survey.)

“SA was also named as the Number One country for expats wanting to settle in and stay,” notes Olivier. “Of the expats surveyed in SA, 55% said they had been living here for more than five years.”

In addition, he says, SA also did very well in the 2009 Expat Economics report also commissioned by HSBC, which found that expats living in SA were among the third wealthiest group in the world, along with those in Singapore and Malaysia, and much better paid, on average, than those living in the US, UK, Germany, Australia, Spain and France.

“In other words, SA offers expats and immigrants an excellent combination of attractive lifestyle and good remuneration, and as this becomes even more widely known, it will no doubt generate further interest in local property.”

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