Black buyers heading south

PROSPECTIVE black buyers now make up a significant portion of Gauteng residents looking to relocate to Cape Town because of rising crime and violence.

Ian Slot, MD of Seeff Properties for Cape Town’s Atlantic seaboard, central business district and city bowl, says in general there is huge interest in Cape Town property from Gauteng residents.

Two weeks ago, when the group was marketing a residential property for sale in Clifton, it received 30 calls in one morning from Gauteng . Slot says 25% of the calls were from black buyers.

He says it is an interesting new trend because he has been regularly told by black buyers and representatives of black buyers that there is a “hesitancy on the part of black buyers to buy in the Cape”.

“The reason for the hesitancy, we are told, is a perception on the part of black buyers that full integration has not taken place in Cape Town, like it has in the rest of the country.

“The perception of Cape Town is changing and this is demonstrated by the fact that we are getting more black buyers wanting to buy in Cape Town or relocate there. People are wanting to leave Gauteng because of the perception of increasing crime and violence, and this cuts across the colour line.”

He says the number of interested black buyers has started increasing only in recent months.

Last month, auction Alliance Group auctioneers told Business Day there had been a spike in the number of Gauteng residents looking to “semigrate” to coastal areas, in particular Cape Town.

Rael Levitt, CEO of Alliance Group, said at the time that the electricity woes, traffic and a “wave of shocking crimes” were among the factors influencing this trend.

Levitt said there was an impression, right or wrong , among Gauteng residents that Cape Town was safer than Johannesburg and less prone to power cuts and traffic jams.

Slot says the “wave of semigration” is economically defined and not racially or ethnically defined.

“There are significant numbers of black people in the upper middle class, and the black buyers are interested in the same areas as middle-class white buyers.”

He says areas such as Sea Point, where properties are priced from R2,5m to R3m, are popular and that others are also looking at more expensive areas such as Bantry Bay, Clifton and Fresnaye.

“I wouldn’t say the percentage of black buyers among current buyers is as high yet as the percentage of inquiries,” says Slot.

Meanwhile, Jawitz Properties in the Cape’s southern peninsula confirms there has been a steady migration of home owners from Gauteng to suburbs such as Scarborough, Kommetjie, Simon’s Town, and Noordhoek because of crime in Johannesburg.

Harold Kolnik, franchisee for Jawitz Properties in the southern peninsula , says he has seen only a small percentage of interested black buyers.

“Most of what I’m seeing in my neck of the woods is people who have been coming to the area on holiday for a number of years,” Kolnik says.

He says the southern peninsula is one of the Cape’s “best-kept secrets” with “fantastic prices” relative to expensive areas such as Clifton and Camps Bay.

He says black buyers in Gauteng are not aware of the southern peninsula and the value it offers compared with places such as Clifton and Camps Bay, which are far better known.

“Black buyers would find price advantages of 30% to 40% in buying in the southern peninsula, compared with Atlantic seaboard prices,” Kolnik says. -

Article by: Nick Wilson - www.businessday.co.za