South African investors have increased their investment in UK properties by nearly 400 percent in the last 18 months as they try to safeguard their future against a volatile rand, Cape Business News reported.
Africa’s super rich are know to be big investors in luxury properties in London, but an increase in South Africans buying real estate in the European nation has sparked interest from property specialists.
“At a time when the rand continues to lose value internationally, we’re seeing a surge in savvy South Africans who are taking a long term look at the global property investment,” said Giles Beswick, director of UK property investment firm, Select Property Group, that’s planning a roadshow in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg later this month.
The rand has depreciated 21 percent against the dollar over the last 18 months as Africa’s most industrialized nation faces both economic and political challenges.
One of the companies that has invested in UK is luxury retailer Richemont, which recently bought a property worth about $276 million in the upmarket New Bond Street in London, MoneyWeb reported.
London is an expensive place to buy property but promises a higher return than many other places due to a housing shortfall that is not meeting demand.
A 2012 report by the global property consultancy Knight Frank, showed that that South Africans were invested more in London property than their counterparts from richer countries.
South Africans outperformed buyers from Germany, Switzerland and Canada, as well as Singapore and Saudi Arabia.
However many of these rich South Africans investing in property in London have no intention of migrating to the UK. Rather they see the stable economy and a strong currency as a good place to house their money, The South African reported.
According to Andrew Lapping, chief investment officer at South Africa-base property consultancy firm Allan Gray, many South African property companies are raising money in and rushing out to invest in property in Europe, Eastern Europe and the UK because it is extremely cheap to borrow money in Europe at the moment.
“So it is actually a positive carry,” Lapping told MoneyWeb.