Foreigners buying SA property again


2 April 2012

The number of foreign buyers of South African residential property is once more on the increase, according to FNB Property Barometer figures – this time, with a significant proportion of buyers from Africa.

The figures, says Lanice Steward of Anne Porter Knight Frank, indicate that in mid-2011 foreign buyers accounted for only two percent of the total SA residential property buyers.

However, the figure for the first quarter of 2012 rose to four percent – and it is noteworthy, adds Steward, that FNB estimate that some 20 percent of those came not from overseas but from Africa.  This is a big rise from the 8.5 percent African buyers that was recorded in 2011.

These sales figures, she said, have to be seen in their context:  they are as yet still a long way off the 2005 figure of seven percent and the late 2008 figure of 6.5 percent – but they do indicate that both international and foreign buyers have confidence in the South African market, recognise that it offers good value and appreciate the fact that compared to many African countries the regulations and taxes governing SA property ownership by foreigners are equitable and not too onerous or complicated.

The confidence of foreign buyers, added Steward, is also still evident among South African expatriates.  In the past two quarters their share of the total buying figure has risen from two percent to four percent.

The overall picture, said Steward, is also improved by the number of sales by SA emigrants continuing to be low.  In the third quarter of 2008, the FNB figures reveal that they amounted to 20 percent of all sales.  Since the first quarter of 2011, the figure has been steady at the far lower level of four percent.