There are over 320,000 Brits living in South Africa attracted by a great outdoor lifestyle and beautiful country, amazing wildlife and game parks, a wonderful climate and a good quality of life as well as a very low cost of living.
It is an ideal location to escape the cold UK winters and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. There are other advantages including a similar timezone to the UK making it easy to keep in contact with friends and family, English is widely spoken and they drive on the left.
The Rand has had a tough time and has roughly halved in value over the last five years. Whilst there has been a strengthening in recent months, South African property and the cost of living in Sterling terms are still very cheap.
Over the last five years, property price growth has averaged at about 5% per annum but once inflation is taken into consideration, growth was actually negative in real terms. Add in the currency devaluation and South African property assets are very cheap and affordable relative to historic values. This environment saw a recovery in 2015 with both Cape Town and Johannesburg posting near 10% price increases in the year to the end of Q1 2016 and it seems momentum is returning to the market. (Source Knight Frank Global Cities Residential Index.)
South Africa holds high real estate standards and properties are widely regarded as some of the finest and most spacious in the world. What’s more, many of the country’s architects and interior designers offer world-class designs and luxury finishes to rival high-end homes found in other parts of the globe.
It should be noted that buying property in South Africa is not without risk. Security still represents an issue and there are ongoing political and currency risks. Unemployment remains stubbornly high and continues to hamper any real recovery, which in turn fuels the political and economic uncertainty.
In terms of destination, most Brits are attracted to the iconic city of Cape Town. Johannesburg and the Garden Route area towards Port Elizabeth are also popular.
Cape Town must be one of the most awe inspiring cities in the world. The view over the city towards Table Mountain as you fly into the city is breathtaking. Its amazing beaches, weather and cost of living are ideal for retirees and foreign property buyers.
There are a number of fashionable areas with the Atlantic Seaboard the most sought after due to the easy access to great beaches, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and the airport along with great views to Table Mountain and the Atlantic. It is a very desirable strip that runs along the Waterfront towards Green Point, Sea Point, Bantry Bay, Clifton, Camps Bay, Bakoven and finishes at Hout Bay. These are all sought after neighbourhoods with some fantastic houses nestled on cliffs that have sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The leafy suburb of Constantia, just inland from Hout Bay is also popular, fairly central and more affordable than the seaboard.
City Bowl, which includes the central business district of Cape Town, is another up-market residential area with a prime central location and vibrant cosmopolitan lifestyle.
Stellenbosch, to the east of Cape Town, is one of the finest wine making regions globally and again has stunning property and views over Table Mountain.
The most desirable neighborhoods in Johannesburg are in the north of the city including suburbs like Dunkeld, Hyde Park, Houghton, Illovo, Inanda, Melrose, Parkhurst, Parktown, Parkview, Sandhurst, Saxonwold and Westcliff.
Pretoria, with a very pleasant Mediterranean climate and feel, just to the north of the city is also popular.
The Garden Route
The Garden Route is a stretch of the south-eastern coast which runs from Mossel Bay in the east up to Storms River near Port Elizabeth in the west. There are some very attractive locations that are also holiday destinations for South Africans. Mossel Bay, Plettenberg Bay, Oyster Bay, Cape St Francis, St Francis Bay and Jeffreys Bay on towards Port Elizabeth are popular. On the east side of Port Elizabeth, East London and inland to Grahamstown are also desired locations.
This Eastern Cape area is by a far more economical option, but still a very attractive location with a good quality of living and cost of life.