Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  30 Apr 2010

PROPERTY: Increased American Interest in the South African Market


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SA remains popular among retirees, says PGP With more and more international media attention focused on South Africa, Pam Golding Properties reports increasing interest from the USA in the local residential property market.

Comments Dr Andrew Golding, CE of the Pam Golding Property group: “Every month people from over 170 countries around the world view properties on our website. Interestingly, what we have noticed currently is a dramatic increase in the number of website visits from the United States of America – to the extent that this group, in terms of foreign interest, is now only second in number to the amount of visits we receive on our website from those in the UK.

“This is somewhat revealing, as to date, it appears that Americans comprise the largest group of overseas visitors who will be coming to South Africa during the Soccer World Cup, so it seems that awareness of South Africa has certainly increased among Americans. Another positive factor is that we are also seeing a growing number of enquiries regarding the SA property market from international journalists, who are showing interest in most of the regions around the country,” says Dr Golding.

Other countries currently showing the most interest in the SA property market via PGP’s website are: Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Mauritius, France, Switzerland and Canada. And during the Berenberg Masters Golf Tournament recently held at Fancourt, 140 high net worth clients and wealth managers of Berenberg Bank visited the Garden Route and during their stay viewed properties in the region.

Popular among overseas visitors and leisure property owners, Knysna, and the Garden Route, sees an annual influx of international ‘swallows’ during the period from September to April. With its spectacular scenery, outstanding golf courses and outdoor activities and safe and relaxed lifestyle, many overseas buyers look to retire here either now or in the future, and they tend to look in the price range from R2.5 million upwards for a lock-up-and-go home either in a secure estate or close to the beaches.

In St Francis Bay PGP reports that overseas buyers generally spend six summer months there, buying mainly in the lower price range from R1 million up to approximately R3 million. These are mostly UK buyers as well as a number of Dutch and Scandinavian purchasers. In East London overseas buyers wanting to retire in South Africa seek homes mainly in the R2 million price range but also up to around R6 million - in good urban locations such as Bonnie Doon and Nahoon – sometimes in gated estates but mostly a good middle size home with an attractive garden. Generally the foreign retirees PGP sees in Port Elizabeth are those who have either worked there or had businesses in the area prior to retirement. They also receive enquiries from foreigners in the middle age group, mainly Dutch and German, looking at guesthouse options where they can scale down, yet still have a business interest with an income to sustain mainly their cost of living instead of just living off their capital.

Wayne Rubidge, area manager for PGP in the Karoo says: “We see overseas buyers often from the Netherlands and UK looking at retirement options in the Karoo, mostly in the price range between R1 million and R3 million. The two towns which have attracted these foreign, early retirement buyers are Prince Albert and Graaff-Reinet.” In Oudtshoorn PGP has sold to three foreign retired couples during the past year – the main reason being the excellent weather. These properties were priced between R750 000 and R2.1 million, for homes in good areas. This is an increasing trend and two further couples are currently looking at property in Oudtshoorn. Most of PGP’s enquiries here are from the UK and these buyers, who know what they want, say they find value for money with large homes and stands available at affordable prices.

Laurie Wener, MD for PGP in the Western Cape, operating in the Cape Town metropolitan areas says: “Cape Town, with its natural beauty, good climate, cosmopolitan ambiance and relaxed casual lifestyle is very appealing. Many foreigners who purchase here, tend to divide their time between South Africa and abroad. Prices paid for property among those retiring here vary as they may buy anything from a wine farm, luxury apartment on the coast for millions to a modest apartment at the R2 million mark. It’s really a broad cross-section from expensive coastal properties to country cottages.”

In the Boland and Overberg regions overseas buyers tend to buy lifestyle farms, smallholdings, and lock-up-and-go apartments for those who are abroad for about six months of the year. “These are usually in the price range between R1.5 million and R5 million,” says Annien Borg, PGP’s MD in the Boland and Overberg. “They prefer towns like Somerset West with good infrastructure and in close proximity to beaches, wine farms and the airport. B and B properties are also popular. Importantly, in relation to other countries the size of our properties are much larger for the price they pay, giving them a sense of value for money, more privacy and the opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities such as gardening and entertaining and with the benefit of having extra room to accommodate family and friends visiting from overseas,” she says.

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