Property agents positive on prospects

Estate agents have expressed confidence about the sustainability of foreign interest in the South African residential property space post the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX Southern Africa, says foreign sales in the four months ended September 2010 constituted less than 2% of the group's sales.

However, he says South Africa's successful staging of the soccer tournament has changed negative perceptions about the country abroad.

"We think it's fairly early to gauge the level of foreign interest in our property portfolio after the World Cup. We are hopeful however that in the next two to three years, foreign buyers particularly from the UK, Europe and the US will start making some moves towards our shores," he says.

Goslett's optimism ties in with the recent Reputation Institute's post World Cup study, which revealed a dramatic improvement in South Africa's reputation rating to 49.11 points from 44.60 in January and 44.27 in 2009.

Dr Andrew Golding, CEO of the Pam Golding Property Group, says the group continues to notice strong interest in its properties via its website.

"Each month over 200,000 visits to the website, from over 190 countries around the globe, result in more than 455,000 property searches.

"Directly after the event we noticed a surge in interest from overseas, with the greatest interest - after South African buyers - from Holland, then from the UK, USA, Germany, Canada, Belgium, Australia, France, Mauritius, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates," he says.

Golding says while the more recent sales are naturally still going through the transfer process, the property group concluded 19 sales to overseas buyers in the period ended August 2010.

These were mostly in the price range between R1.2 million and R3.2 million, with two high end sales of properties for R14.5 million, being a property in Johannesburg's northern suburbs sold to a buyer from Denmark, and a prime Atlantic Seaboard property in Cape Town, sold to a buyer from the UK for R28 million.

Paula Neild, Marketing Manager at Jawitz Properties, noted a degree of interest from London and Canada in particular.

"We did not have an overwhelming response so far in terms of actual transactions. I guess, under the present global economic uncertainties, people are still cautions in taking definitive decisions," she said.

Jawitz Properties is a member of the Luxury Portfolio Fine Property Collection, the luxury face of Real Estate Companies of the World.

The South African government said in July that the soccer tournament injected an estimated R93 billion into the local economy.

However, government spokesperson Themba Maseko told I-Net Bridge that this figure would be verified when Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan presents his medium-term budget policy statement next week.

Maseko said the successful World Cup had brought about an improvement in both South Africa's and the continent's global image.

Article by: Andries Mahlangu - www.eprop.co.za