Gauteng Business News

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PROPERTY: Higher Tourist Inflows a Plus for SA Homes Market


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The announcement by Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk that the tourist inflow to South Africa rose by 10,5% to 2,2-million in the first quarter of 2012 bodes well for the homes market – particularly if that level is sustained, says Ronald Ennik, CEO of Gauteng luxury homes marketer Ennik Estates.

Ennik Estates is the exclusive affiliate in Gauteng of US$100-billion sales a year Christie’s International Real Estate – the London-based global luxury property arm of the world’s largest and oldest fine art auction house.

“It is a fact that many incoming tourists take time off to enquire about investment in residential property in South Africa – a country which The Telegraph (London) listed less than a year ago as one of the world’s top 10 property safe havens.

“If just 2% of our first quarter visitors took a serious look at South African residential property during their stay, they would have generated 44 000 firm enquiries. It would take only a 2,3% conversion of those enquiries to produce 1 000 sales,” says Ronald.

Pie in the sky‘

“No. Not if you consider the continued sentiment-sapping fall-out from the euro debt crisis, the persistence of the economic slowdown in developed countries generally and, now, the further plunge in confidence in world banking following the Libor-fixing scandal in the UK,” says Ronald.

“Northern Hemisphere investors are seeking new, and safer, destinations for their money, and South African real estate is a good option – particularly for those who are already corporately involved in the explosion of growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, and are using SA (and particularly Sandton) as their gateway.

“This could be a key factor behind the rise of almost 10% (to 133 729) in the number of UK visitors to our country in the first quarter, as well as the increases of 16% and 15% respectively in arrivals from the US and Germany,” says Ronald.
What also jumps out of the latest tourism stats is a strong uptick in visits to SA from fellow Brics countries Brazil (up 71,7%); China (67,7%); and India (23,1%).

“This ties in with the Christie’s view that the Brics countries are one of the world arenas of future (homes market) growth – with a focus on bi-directional referrals.

“Once the current, unsettling, political uncertainty in South Africa is laid to rest, one way or another, at the ANC’s meeting in Mangaung in December, many wait-and-see foreign investors will hopefully not only bump up our tourism rates even further but will also become owners of residential property in SA,” Ronald concludes.

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