The expats are coming – SA homes good value for money
The Homecoming Revolution – the ‘brain gain company for Africa’ – says almost 360,000 expat South Africans have returned home in the past five years. And using Adcorp data, another 34,000 are currently seriously considering their return.
And according to the results of a major new survey by business-oriented social networking service LinkedIn, South Africa currently ranks sixth among the top 20 countries in the world that are showing a net gain in the number of professionals migrating for work, behind Germany, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and the UAE.
“Some of the main factors behind this repatriation trend are the quality of life on offer in SA and the exciting employment opportunities that are increasingly opening up now for people with scientific, technical, engineering and maths (STEM) skills, as well as the natural attraction of living near family and friends,” said Rawson Property Group MD Tony Clarke.
In addition, he said, returning South Africans are well aware that the comparative cost of living here is much lower than in many major cities abroad, with the latest figures showing that it costs 43% less to live in Johannesburg than in New York, and that the city is 50% cheaper than London or Sydney.
“However, even better news for the local real estate market at the moment is the weakness of the rand against the pound, dollar and euro, which is prompting many expats who have been earning and saving in those currencies for the past few years to buy property ‘back home’ – either as an investment or in anticipation of their own return,” he said. “And of course they can buy much more for their money now than they could a few years ago. For example, those who might have bought a R2m property with pounds five years ago can now acquire a property worth some R2,75m for the same investment.
“Similarly, those who might have used euros to buy a R2m property in 2011 can now acquire a home worth R3m thanks to the decline in the rand exchange rate, and this puts them in a good position to buy into gated estates and other luxury developments where they can enjoy a high level of security.”
Clarke said his company website is receiving a high number of enquiries from expats. “We do expect a large number of prospective investors to book actual property viewings and conclude purchases during December and January, when many expats traditionally visit SA to spend time with their families,” he said.
“Our latest research shows, for example, that prices for three-bedroom terrace homes within 25km of London and in good condition start at around GBP100,000 – which is the equivalent, currently, of about R2m. One can acquire modern three-bedroom, two-bathroom family homes with lush gardens, garages and pools for less than that within 25km of both Johannesburg and Cape Town.
“For R2m, one can also acquire a variety of brand-new homes in all of SA’s main cities and towns, including apartments, townhouses and freehold homes in security complexes and estates that usually also offer additional facilities ranging from high-speed broadband connectivity to gyms, business centres and clubhouses.”