Emigration-driven sales are on the rise in South Africa, accounting for 14.2% of all sales in the Q1 2019 FNB Estate Agents Survey.
However, emigration is a bold step, and if you are planning on purchasing property in a new country, it’s important to do your research beforehand, says Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of Remax of Southern Africa.
“It is also incredibly difficult to purchase a primary residential property if you do not live in that country.
“My advice to our expats would be to rent for a few months and explore their surroundings before deciding on where to purchase a permanent home,” he said.
Below Remax provided an overview of some of the local property market conditions in three of the top destinations for South African expats.
Sydney is one of the most recognised capital cities in the region with its iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
Melbourne is another, being regularly voted the world’s most liveable city. At the end of June, the median house price in Sydney was roughly AUD$780,000 (R7.9 million) and in Melbourne AUD$620,000 (R6.3 million).
Brisbane had the next highest median at around AUD$486,000 (R4.95 million).
“Generalising across all Australian markets, we are emerging from a property downturn that commenced around 18 months ago due to a variety of fiscal, political and regulatory factors,” said Josh Davoren, director of Remax Australia.
Sydney and Melbourne were the hardest hit. By the end of this year, the market is expected to stabilise – we are already seeing this on the east coast – and moderate growth should follow in 2020.
“Our Australian scene is one of falling interest rates and rising consumer confidence,” he said.
“The banks are lending, and things have settled on political and taxation fronts. Many property markets across the country are heading in a good direction.”
Florida and California are the two states in America with climates most similar to that of South Africa’s, which makes them the most desirable states for expats, said Chip Brekken, director of Global Development at Remax.
Looking at some of the popular suburbs in California, the Median Sales Prices for July 2019 indicate that a home in LA will cost around $510,000 (R7.7 million).
Prices climb to $955,888 (R14.4 million) when looking at the San Francisco market. Prices are somewhat more affordable in Florida, with the Median Sales Price in Miami being $304,900 (R4.6 million) and $255,000 (R3.9 million) in Orlando.
“The current exchange rate for the South African rand to the dollar will make for tough purchasing power for South Africans buying in the US,” said Brekken.
The United Kingdom
According to Remax, a studio apartment in prime central London currently costs around £300,000 (R5.55 million).
“If you’re really lucky, this might also afford you a one-bedroom flat,” said Roger Collings of Remax Central.
“Many prefer to purchase property on the outskirts of town and commute into the city. For example, areas such as Watford offer better value for money but are within 20 minutes of the city by train,” he said.
“For the Prime Central London market, invest in smaller properties, such as one or two bedrooms rather than larger – that would be my advice at present. Don’t be frightened to go a little out of the centre of the city as there are very good yields to be had from areas that are easily commutable.”