SA in droves

CityPress - - Business - ELMA KLOP­PERS busi­ness@city­press.co.za – Beeld

Wealthy South Africans have left the coun­try in large num­bers over the past 14 years, mainly be­cause of un­sta­ble po­lit­i­cal con­di­tions.

Be­tween 2000 and 2014 more than 8 000 in­di­vid­u­als with a high-net-as­set worth, those with net as­sets of more than $1 mil­lion (R12.44 mil­lion) – their pri­mary res­i­dences ex­cluded – have packed their bags to find greener, and more ex­pen­sive, pas­tures abroad.

This left South Africa with a to­tal of 46 800 dol­lar mil­lion­aires at the end of 2014.

Pop­u­lar em­i­gra­tion des­ti­na­tions for the wealthy in­clude Aus­tralia, Bri­tain, Cyprus, Mau­ri­tius, the US and Canada, ac­cord­ing to a new an­nual over­view of the mi­gra­tion pat­terns of the rich by New World Wealth, com­piled in co­op­er­a­tion with LIO Global.

Over the same pe­riod, only 500 wealthy peo­ple im­mi­grated to South Africa, mainly from other coun­tries in Africa, ac­cord­ing to An­drew Amoils, head of re­search at New World Wealth. He said the main rea­sons for the ex­o­dus were po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity – mainly con­cern about the coun­try be­com­ing a sec­ond Zim­babwe – crime, the stan­dard of ed­u­ca­tion and a gen­eral lack of busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties.

He said about 40% em­i­grated to Bri­tain, largely to Lon­don and south­east Eng­land, and 20% to Aus­tralia, mainly Syd­ney and Mel­bourne.

Since the turn of the cen­tury, the num­ber of mil­lion­aires world­wide who have em­i­grated has in­creased dra­mat­i­cally. Na­dia Read, head of LIO Global, said the main rea­sons for the rich ap­ply­ing for cit­i­zen­ship in new coun­tries were global mo­bil­ity, safety and to pro­tect their wealth for their fam­i­lies.

Bri­tain re­mains the most pop­u­lar em­i­gra­tion des­ti­na­tion for the rich, and be­tween 2000 and 2014, a to­tal of 125 000 peo­ple went there.

The at­trac­tions in Bri­tain, es­pe­cially Lon­don, in­clude the lan­guage, the in­ter­na­tional sta­tus of the cap­i­tal, con­ve­nience to travel across borders, ease of trans­fer­ring money, qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and easy ac­cess to prop­erty.

How­ever, the US re­mains the coun­try with the most dol­lar mil­lion­aires in the world.

Al­to­gether 52 000 wealthy peo­ple em­i­grated there over the past 14 years, bring­ing its to­tal of dol­lar mil­lion­aires to 4.1 mil­lion.

The US is a favourite among em­i­grants from China. More than 91 000 rich Chi­nese have sought greener pas­tures there over the past 14 years.

In the sec­ond quar­ter of this year, a frac­tion more South Africans sold their homes with the in­ten­tion of em­i­grat­ing.

Em­i­gra­tion sales in this quar­ter rose to 3.8% of to­tal home sales, up from 3.6% in the first quar­ter, ac­cord­ing to John Loos, con­sumer and prop­erty strate­gist at FNB.

De­spite the rise, it re­mains a frac­tion of the peak of 20% reached in the third quar­ter of 2008. Loos said it had to be noted that, at the time, the vol­umes in the mar­ket had been very low.

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