Cape Town property, or a toilet?
If the market’s memory is akin to that of a goldfish, the one number that will nevertheless stick in people’s minds from the past few months is the rand plunging to nearly R18 to the dollar, post-Nenegate.
And for those who gulped and boarded a plane to a foreign land over the festive season, the wallet-searing pain of buying anything more lavish than a cup of coffee won’t fade anytime soon.
Of course, the reverse is also true: the English cricket supporters who arrived in SA to watch the test series even concocted a hearty song, which starts “R23 to the pound …”, which they sang in unison at the Wanderers cricket ground in Jo’burg.
(As you can imagine, it didn’t get any easier to hear when the Poms beat the Proteas in the test series too.)
So in this context, what you certainly won’t be doing is splurging R23m to buy a public toilet in Spitalfields, one of the trendiest spots in east London.
Incredibly though, that’s the asking price (£999,000) for an old underground toilet, the site of which has most recently been used as a nightclub (maximum capacity: 60 people).
According to The Guardian, estate agents are marketing it as “charming and quirky”, and “brilliantly situated”.
Let’s not forget that R23m is what a Russian businessman paid a few years ago for the Castle in Hout Bay, next to Cape Town. But instead of a cramped toilet, he got the run of 8.5 ha of terraced gardens, a natural waterfall, a swimming pool, an estate with its own water supply and electricity generator, and a banqueting hall.