Drop in emigration sellers positive for market
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.