Drop in em­i­gra­tion sell­ers pos­i­tive for mar­ket

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

ONE OF the most pos­i­tive as­pects of the South African prop­erty mar­ket right now is the de­cline in the num­ber of home own­ers plan­ning to em­i­grate.

“This phe­nom­e­non, iden­ti­fied in re­search by FNB, ar­guably ac­counts to some ex­tent for the cur­rent up­turn in the for­tunes of the mar­ket in that there are fewer des­per­ate sell­ers,” says Colleen Gray, MD of Cen­tury 21 South Africa.

“And on the other hand, there is ev­i­dence to sup­port an in­crease in de­mand from South African ex­pa­tri­ates re­turn­ing home in the wake of the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis and wide­spread job losses. They be­lieve their prospects of suc­cess here will be aided by fa­mil­iar­ity with the busi­ness scene, fam­ily net­works and other sup­port mech­a­nisms.”

She says it would ob­vi­ously be wrong to draw too many as­sump­tions about an im­prove­ment in con­sumer con­fi­dence from the fig­ures cur­rently avail­able – or to be­lieve that a de­cline in the num­ber of emig rants nec­es­sar­ily re­flects an im­prove­ment in all the con­di­tions that pre­vi­ously stim­u­lated em­i­gra­tion, notably crime, cor­rup­tion, bu­reau­cracy and de­te­ri­o­rat­ing in­fra­struc­ture.

“But what­ever the rea­sons, the FNB fig­ures make in­ter­est­ing read­ing. They show that, in Jo­han­nes­burg, for ex­am­ple, em­i­gra­tion as a rea­son for sell­ing a prop­erty has dropped from 21 per­cent of sell­ers to just 7 per­cent over the past year and that in Dur­ban the de­cline has been even big­ger, from 29 per­cent of sell­ers to just 8 per­cent.

“In Cape Town the per­cent­age of emig ra­tion-re­lated sales has dropped from 14 per­cent to 4 per­cent, in Port El­iz­a­beth it has fallen from 14 per­cent to 7 per­cent and in Pre­to­ria it has de­clined from 21 per­cent to only 2 per­cent.

“This is all a far cry from the sur­vey of the South African em­i­gra­tion/im­mi­gra­tion pic­ture car­ried out by global mar­ket re­search group Syno­vate in June last year, which showed there had been no sig­nifi- cant de­cline in the per­cent­age of South Africans def­i­nitely plan­ning to em­i­grate or se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing it since 2008, when 20 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion was in­clined to leave the coun­try,” says Gray.

“It is quite pos­si­ble that many would-be em­i­grants have put their plans on hold un­til the world eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion im­proves fur­ther and they feel they can se­cure new jobs and sta­ble fu­tures in other parts of the world. But as the sit­u­a­tion stands now, our gov­ern­ment has a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress the main em­i­gra­tion ‘push fac­tors’ and try to con­vince a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of them to change their minds and stay here,” says Gray.

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