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
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...