SA property beating Europe

The South African property market is "way ahead" of European markets, Auction Alliance says.

This followed the attendance of CEO Rael Levitt at a recent commercial property conference held in central London.

"At the conference it was confirmed that advanced countries would still see pain in their property markets for some time [and] developing economies would strongly outperform sluggish northern hemisphere nations."

Levitt, who attended the conference at the invitation of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, said many speakers, economists and analysts felt that China, India, South America and Africa were the regions where property markets would recover quickest and provide the strongest returns as the global economy returned to health over the next five years.

"South Africa was mentioned as one of the growth nodes where the country was not only accommodating an influx of foreign labour from other African countries but was rapidly becoming the gateway to the continent."

Levitt said several delegates believed that when international giants such as Walmart invested in Africa, they would use South Africa as their regional head office for a pan-African roll out strategy.

"This creates demand for local, commercial real estate," Levitt said after following the conference with a tour of the UK's largest auction houses including Allsop, Cushman and Wakefield, Barnard Marcus and others.

"This is an annual trip I take to see whether our auction business is lined up with the world's most established and reputable auction companies.

"This is the first time I felt that South African property was way ahead of European markets, which are in great distress at the moment."

Levitt said South Africa was seen by many as an exciting emerging economy and, despite the global downturn, a strong investment destination which would still grow sharply.

A strong Rand, first world infrastructure and renewed foreign investment would make South Africa a popular choice for global property investors.

"One must remember that on the commercial property side, besides the investment in Cape Town's V&A Waterfront, there hasn't been enormous foreign investment in local real estate."

With the strength of South Africa's emerging economy, now palatable to offshore investors, the country might finally see foreign investors chasing South African industrial, office and retail property, Levitt said.

Article: Sapa - www.timeslive.co.za