South Africa is a hot property market for expats

HSBC’s latest Expat Explorer report for 2017 ranks the world’s best countries for expats to settle in, offering the highest quality of life, and the safest and richest environment for the families.

For the third year in a row, Singapore topped the list of 46 countries that qualified for the ranking, carrying the overall highest score for expat quality of life. While the Asian nation did not top the ranking in any of three main indices (for economics, experience and family), it still earned the highest score.

Behind Singapore was Norway, followed by New Zealand, Germany and the Netherlands rounding out the top five.

The economics category ranks each country using a score that summarises expats’ views on things like personal finance, the local economy and working life, while the experience category looks at things like lifestyle, the people in new countries and what it takes to get set up.

The final category – family – focuses on education and other quality of life factors that would affect the well-being of having raising a family in the new country.

South Africa ranked 33rd out of 46 countries, relatively low down on the list, with its best indicator being in the ‘family’ field (16th), while economics was the poorest indicator (41st). Despite its lower ranking, South Africa has emerged as one of the hottest property markets for expats, the report showed.

Expat investment

Globally, expats have an average gross personal income each year of just under US$100,000, HSBC said.

They earn on average 25% more than they did at home, and more than one in ten expats (14%) say their income has doubled since moving abroad.

According to HSBC, many expats take with them their financial attitudes to investing, which highlights property ownership as a valuable investment – and with the appetite for international
property ownership growing, 62% of expats own a property somewhere in the world, with 9% owning bricks and mortar in both their home and host country.

Three quarters (75%) of British nationals overseas own a property, influenced by a strong sense of the importance of home ownership in the UK culture.

This puts British expats third in the expat property ownership rankings (just behind Sri Lankans and Egyptians), closely followed by Indian expats at 74%, the banking group said.

Three quarters (73%) of expats in Norway own a property, making it the country with the highest rate of expat property ownership out of all countries measured. This is followed by France (69%), Portugal (64%), New Zealand (63%) and South Africa (61%).

Read: Top global cities for South Africans to invest in property

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South Africa is a hot property market for expats