New World Wealth has published its annual Africa Wealth report for 2022, revealing which countries and cities on the continent are home to the highest net worth individuals – including South Africa.
The report focuses on high net worth individuals (HNWIs) with a wealth of $1 million (R15.70 million) or more. Total wealth refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each country. It includes all their assets – property, cash, equities, business interests – less liabilities.
The data shows that Johannesburg is the wealthiest city in Africa, with total private wealth amounting to $239 billion. This includes 16,000 HNWIs, 34 centi-millionaires (R1.5 billion+), and two-dollar billionaires (R15.7 billion+). Most of Johannesburg’s HNWI wealth is concentrated in the suburbs of Sandhurst, Hyde Park and Westcliff.
Cape Town ranks second on the list with total private wealth amounting to $131 billion. The city is home to 6,900 HNWIs, 25 centi-millionaires and one billionaire.
Durban and Umhlanga round up the top three with total private wealth amounting to $60 billion. The data shows that Umhlanga is especially affluent and is home to many HNWIs.
Most expensive streets and suburbs
When looking at the wealthiest areas and streets sales, the data from New World Wealth shows that almost all of the country’s most expensive suburbs and streets are in the Western Cape.
The city is home to many of Africa’s most exclusive suburbs, including Clifton, Bantry Bay, Fresnaye, Llandudno, Camps Bay, Bishopscourt and Constantia. It also attracts more foreign buyers than the rest of the country due to its attractive lifestyle and high living standards.
|Suburb||Rand per square meter||US$ per square meter|
|Camps Bay and Bakoven||R52,000||$3,300|
Most expensive streets or suburbs outside of Cape Town
|Suburb/Street||Rand per square meter||US$ per square meter|
|Lagoon Drive, Umhlanga||R36,000||$2,300|
|Beachyhead Drive, Plettenberg Bay||R34,000||$2,100|
|Marine Drive, Umhlanga||R30,000||$1,900|
Prime property on the decline
While South Africa’s prime property costs are still some of the most expensive globally, the sector has taken a knock over the last decade, New World Wealth’s data shows, due to a fluctuating exchange rate. Between 2010 and 2012, the rand traded at an average of R7.50, R6.75, and R8.10 respectively over those years.
Prime residential prices surged 37% over the past decade in local rand terms, however, when measured in US$ terms, these prices were down by 30%.
Some of the impossible reasons for this poor performance include:
- A dip in the top-end market. In particular, free-standing houses valued at over R10 million have become very difficult to sell.
- Increased utility bills (rates, electricity, and water) have risen by more than three times over the ten-year period. This has discouraged people from buying property and forced many to downsize.
- High transfer duties of up to 13%. Notably, for properties valued at R10 million and over, transfer duty exceeds R900,000.
- High crime levels have deterred people from buying freestanding houses, in particular.
- Threats of land redistribution without compensation may have discouraged people from making large-scale property purchases.