On the back of the recent global residential conference held by Knight Frank in London, where the percentage of sales in some high net worth areas was discussed, Knight Frank Anne Porter see the fact that South Africa’s foreign buyers currently represent 3,5% of the total residential sales market as a huge opportunity for SA to market itself to the super-wealthy of the world, said Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Anne Porter.
“Our challenges are the current fear of security and the economic and political climate of South Africa. There has been a downturn of foreign buyers coming out of Africa into SA and this emphasises the fact that there is a need to market South African residential properties as second homes or investment opportunities,” she said.
Knight Frank has realised their potential, given their strong representation in Africa, in nine major countries so far, said Steward.
Although the declared immigration statistics might have come down because of the adverse international climate, this has to be weighed against the realities of the global world we live in, she said.
“It is sometimes not just negative factors that drive people to move from country to country.”
“London is full of South Africans, in spite of the difficulties of getting in there, and has a truly diverse representation of all the countries in the world. It is time to get out of the “South Africanitis”, it is not just South Africans leaving their country but others in other countries moving here and there is constant movement throughout the world. The lines between the cultures and races are being blurred and people will now more readily move from country to country rather than just moving suburb or province as was done in the past.”
While no official emigration statistics are kept in South Africa, according to John Loos, FNB’s property economist’s Estate Agent Survey, it was found that the emigration figures peaked at 20% in 2008, but since then the figures have gradually dropped to 2,7% (from a survey done in February 2013). This figure is the lowest recorded since the peak in 2008.
“So, in comparing the foreign buyer figures to the emigration figures, it seems there is natural movement, there will be dips and highs in all markets, but what needs to be focussed on is the potential in the market you are in. South Africa’s property market has huge untapped potential and we hope to be able, with Knight Frank, in the years ahead to unlock this,” said Steward.