Cap­i­talise on the moment

The World Cup is over, but are the ben­e­fits? Lea Ja­cobs takes a look at the SA prop­erty mar­ket and how it stands to gain from the ex­po­sure of the past few months

Business Day - Home Front - - HOMEFRONT -

CRIT­ICS of SA’s abil­ity to host the World Cup have been si­lenced for­ever. The beau­ti­ful game has been played in a beau­ti­ful coun­try and ev­ery­one came to the party. The world class sta­di­ums built in record time in­di­cates SA’s abil­ity to de­sign and de­velop top build­ings that would look at home in any cos­mopoli­tan city and the hos­pi­tal­ity shown by the hosts will be re­mem­bered for years to come.

While the ex­pected num­bers were down on those ini­tially pre­dicted, fans who dis­missed for­eign re­ports about panga-wield­ing gangs in the streets at­tended an event that was safe, well or­gan­ised and show­cased SA in the best pos­si­ble way. As fans trav­elled from game to game they saw the best that this coun­try had to of­fer. While there can be lit­tle doubt that SA is a beau­ti­ful tourist des­ti­na­tion, the chal­lenge ahead is to prove that the coun­try is a wor­thy in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion.

An­drew Gold­ing, CEO of Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties, said the World Cup had cap­tured ev­ery­one’s imag­i­na­tion and there was a strong sense that the ad­van­tages of hav­ing staged the event were go­ing to have long-term and far­reach­ing ef­fects for the prop­erty in­dus­try. “We have main­tained that, from a prop­erty prospec­tive, the ben­e­fit of the tour­na­ment has been to show­case our coun­try, not only to the soc­cer fans who came to watch the games, but more im­por­tantly, the world­wide tele­vi­sion au­di­ence, which has put the coun­try on the map for mil­lions and mil­lions of peo­ple. The medium to long-term ben­e­fits of this are hard to un­der­es­ti­mate.”

Sa­muel Se­eff, who heads Se­eff Prop­er­ties, agrees, al­though he says while in­ter­est has been shown, ac­tual trans­ac­tions have been few. He says this was to be ex­pected, given what is hap­pen­ing around the world in the af­ter­math of the global cri­sis. “Peo­ple have their own prob­lems at home and need to re­solve those be­fore we can ex­pect to see a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of for­eign­ers look­ing to pur­chase prop­erty here.”

South African prop­erty still of­fers ex­cel­lent value for money when com­pared to sim­i­lar prop­er­ties in other coun­tries. Se­eff says peo­ple could not get over how the equiv­a­lent amount over­seas would buy nowhere near the life­style and the value they could en­joy here. “In the UK, for ex­am­ple, our prop­erty is far cheaper than London. In the US, com­pared to New York and Los An­ge­les, SA of­fers ex­cel­lent value for money.”

Some ar­eas of the coun­try are prov­ing more pop­u­lar with tourists and Ja­son Rohde, CEO of Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty, says his com­pany has been track­ing trends via their web­page as to where the in­ter­est lies with prospec­tive in­ter­na­tional buy­ers.

At this stage it ap­pears that Gaut­eng and the Cape are gen­er­at­ing the most in­ter­est. Ar­eas that have proved to be at­trac­tive op­tions for years re­main high on the for­eign in­vestor’s wish list. The North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal has at­tracted in­ter­est as well as the eco-tourism and game lodge sec­tors sit­u­ated in var­i­ous parts of the coun­try. The Highveld has ap­pealed to vis­i­tors from other African coun­tries and Gold­ing says the ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­i­ties in these ar­eas are the force be­hind this in­ter­est. He says that from a bou­tique per­spec­tive, wine farms in the Stel­len­bosch, Fran­schhoek and Paarl ar­eas are still firmly on in­vestors’ radars.

“To date all of the re­ports com­ing out have been that the World Cup has been fan­tas­tic, won­der­fully hosted, with great spirit and very lit­tle crime,” says Se­eff. “Re­ports in­di­cate that SA is a place peo­ple will want to visit and en­joy in the fu­ture.”

Ev­ery coun­try that has hosted an event of this mag­ni­tude has gone on to see pos­i­tive eco­nomic ben­e­fits. Se­eff be­lieves that busi­ness in­vest­ment in Africa will in­crease dra­mat­i­cally and the gate­way to that will be SA. “Past ex­pe­ri­ence has shown that coun­tries that re­ceive this kind of pro­mo­tion and ex­po­sure in the mar­ket­place ben­e­fit from an in­crease in tourism. As more vis­i­tors ex­pe­ri­ence SA, we ex­pect they will say that this is a place where they ei­ther want to come and live or at the very least, visit, in­vest and spend time see­ing what the coun­try has to of­fer.”

Time will tell if these pre­dic­tions will be met. How­ever, there can be lit­tle doubt that SA has wormed its way into many peo­ple’s hearts. It has proved it­self wor­thy on so many dif­fer­ent lev­els: for the moment the coun­try is the world’s dar­ling and we should cap­i­talise on these feel­ings of good­will.

This 47ha wine es­tate in the Fran­schhoek Val­ley is one of the orig­i­nal Huguenot farms, dat­ing back to 1693. With views over five dif­fer­ent moun­tain ranges, the prop­erty cur­rently has 16ha planted to Bordeaux red grape va­ri­etals. It is on the mar­ket...

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