Are driv­ing off­shore eco­nomic un­cer­tain­ties with po­lit­i­cal and Rand volatil­ity, cou­pled lo­cals still able to play off­shore? as­pi­ra­tions. But are prop­erty in­vest­ment

Finweek English Edition - - IN DEPTH - By Glenda Wil­liams

for many South Africans able to af­ford it, Lon­don has been top of the pile when it came to grow­ing their off­shore prop­erty in­vest­ments. Con­sid­ered by many as the most sta­ble sec­tor of the UK prop­erty mar­ket, res­i­den­tial prop­erty has been the pref­er­ence for more than 150 South African in­vestors who have in­vested here, through Prop­wealth, over the past five years.

“South African in­vestors see the UK, with its low in­ter­est rates, very high ten­ant de­mand, sta­ble econ­omy and strong eco­nomic outlook as a very safe in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment. They feel com­fort­able with UK prop­erty as the pur­chas­ing pro­ce­dures are very sim­i­lar to SA and prop­erty is highly reg­u­lated,” says Craig Ill­man, South African di­rec­tor of UK-based prop­erty com­pany Prop­wealth. that they used to be.

In Lon­don, 30 to 40 deals an­nu­ally through Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties In­ter­na­tional & Projects divi­sion (PGP) were com­mon­place for South Africans in­vest­ing into prop­erty here. To­day, those deals have fallen to fewer than 10, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Chris Im­mel­man tells fin­week. Even buy­ing a one-bed­room apart­ment on the pe­riph­ery of prime cen­tral Lon­don will cost South Africans £750 000 (or roughly R16.5m).

Five years ago £180 000 would have bagged in­vestors a one-bed­room apart­ment in Royal Ar­se­nal in Green­wich, a mas­sive de­vel­op­ment with a Cross­rail sta­tion in the then more af­ford­able South East Lon­don. Those same one-bed­ders are now fetch­ing £450 000 and up­wards, Ill­man tells fin­week.

“Many hotspots around Cross­rail are flat-lin­ing now as prof­its have al­ready been re­alised by in­vestors, and de­vel­op­ers are adding a pre­mium to prices,” says Ill­man.

Even ar­eas within 30 min­utes’ com­mut­ing time to Lon­don – towns like St Al­bans or Seven Oaks, both pop­u­lar

Craig Ill­man South African di­rec­tor of UK-based prop­erty com­pany Prop­wealth

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