Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  15 Jan 2010

PROPERTY: Drop in Emigration Positive for SA


Recent Gauteng Business News

One of the most positive aspects of the SA property market right now is the decline in the number of homeowners 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 says Colleen Gray, MD of CENTURY 21 South Africa, in that there are fewer desperate sellers.

“And on the other hand, there is evidence to support an increase in demand from SA expats returning home in the wake of the global financial crisis and widespread job losses, believing that 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 emigrants necessarily reflects an improvement in all the conditions that previously stimulated emigration, notably crime/ corruption, bureaucracy and infrastructure deterioration.

“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% of sellers to just 7% over the past year and that in Durban the decline has been even bigger, from 29% of sellers to just 8%.”

In Cape Town the percentage of emigration-related sales has dropped from 14% to 4%, in Port Elizabeth it has fallen from 14% to 7% and in Pretoria it is decline from 21% to only 2%.

“Which is all a far cry from the survey of the SA migration/ immigration picture carried out by global market research group Synovate in June last year, which showed that there had been no significant decline in the percentage of South Africans definitely planning on emigrating or seriously considering it since 2008, when 20% of the population was inclined to leave the country,” says Gray.

“It is quite possible that many would-be emigrants have just 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 in SA.

“And in the meanwhile the country is already benefiting from the retention of skills resident in the younger age groups which usually account for the biggest number of emigrants, as well as the increased stability in our property market. This could be just the breathing space we need to turn the whole emigration trend around.”

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