Notable uptick in foreign buyer interest in Cape Town's luxury estate sector

Cape Town’s Constantiaberg has always been a popular destination for foreign buyers who are attracted by the lifestyle, climate, and host of world-class amenities, but during the past two years, there has been a surge in enquiries, especially in the estate market.

“We first noticed an increase in enquiries from foreign investors after the Brexit vote and then again once pandemic restrictions had eased and the war in Ukraine had begun,” say Stephan Thomas and David Burger, Secure Estate Specialists for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Constantiaberg.

“Prior to the pandemic, most of our sales were to ‘swallows’ who bought here in order to escape the European winters but, as many buyers now have the flexibility to earn an overseas currency or maintain European jobs whilst basing themselves in Cape Town, travelling between countries when necessary for work.

“There are also ex pats who have lived abroad for several years where they married and had children and are now returning to South Africa with their families for lifestyle reasons.”

They add that they have also started to notice interest from as far afield as places like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

“The majority of these buyers are looking for properties in the upper price bands of R10 million to R30m and are drawn by the opportunity to live in harmony with the stunning natural environment.

“The most popular estates include Stonehurst for its stunning natural surrounds and lifestyle, Silverhurst for its elegance and exclusivity and Silvertree for proximity to Reddam School.

“The Constantia Valley offers everything they could want, from lifestyle and stunning natural beauty to the convenience of first-class shops and restaurants as well as restaurants, sporting facilities, beaches and a host of leisure and outdoor activities.”

Despite South Africa’s issues, it seems that many of these buyers believe the benefits far outweigh the negative.

“Last year, we dealt with a buyer from Mauritius who considered the possibility of negative growth (in US Dollar terms) as acceptable risk considering the outstanding lifestyle that is achievable.

“However, we have noticed that security has become more of a priority for many foreign buyers and an estate property allows them to enjoy the lifestyle along with peace of mind.”

The partners say that semigration also remains a strong market driver and upcountry buyers are, in fact, currently the origin of most of their enquiries and sales.

“Last year was an exceptional year, with our sales topping R100 million and transfers in Steenberg Golf Estate, Stonenhurst and Silvertree alone exceeded R365m in 2022.

“And, like last December, we’ve just had an extremely busy season with the constant stream of enquiries spilling over into January.”

“Sotheby’s International Realty research has shown that at least 40% of the global workforce is now ‘location independent’ and we therefore expect current buying trends to continue if not grow,” conclude Thomas and Burger.

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