African buyers best bet for big-ticket SA properties

Luxury property in South Africa is increasingly attracting the attention of wealthy business owners and executives in other parts of Africa, says global property group Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Recent years have seen relatively strong economic growth in countries such as Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Angola and the Congo Republic,” says Lew Geffen, chairman of Sotheby’s International Realty in SA, “and of course growing trade and co-operation between these countries and SA.

“Now many business leaders from these and other African countries are setting their sights on owning a luxury home or holiday home in this country rather than in the European or UK cities they used to favour.”

This interest was apparent, he notes, during the Soccer World Cup earlier this year, when many top-line rental properties were taken up by executives, sports stars and celebrities from other African countries – “and we have been receiving an increasing number of property purchase enquiries from these countries for some time now”.

Recent sales to buyers from elsewhere in Africa, Geffen says, include a Sandhurst property sold to a Nigerian family for R24m.

“What is more, according to both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Africa’s economy is recovering faster than initially expected from last year’s global economic crash, thanks to higher commodity prices and rising levels of foreign investment.

“Growth rates will average 4,3% and reach as much as 6% in some African countries this year, in contrast with the 1% yoy achieved in the second quarter by Germany, which currently has Europe’s best-performing economy, and the 0,6% yoy achieved by the US.

“What this means in simple terms is that SA homeowners hoping to attract a foreign buyer for their luxury properties should now be looking at African countries with strong economies rather than Europe, the UK or the US, where the strong rand is another factor mitigating against the purchase of SA real estate.”

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