Friday, March 27, 2009

Expatriates desire to return home within 24 months

Before ya go, think twice. Then think again, and again, and again

Expatriates desire to return home within 24 months

Sapa; 26 March 2009

Realtors see an increase in enquiries about local property.

The increase in enquiries about local property indicates South Africans living abroad are coming home due to the international economic meltdown, said Seeff Properties on Thursday.

General manager Emarie Campbell said this was indicated by enquiries made by South African expatriates on the company's website.

She said at a property exhibition that the Homecoming Revolution held in London six months ago, most of the expatriates visiting the Seeff stand indicated their desire to return to South Africa within 24 months.

Campbell attributed the change of heart to South Africans who had previously held secure positions and earned good money but were now facing cutbacks and retrenchments due to the global economical crisis.

Many visitors at the exhibition indicated that they first needed to sell their properties in the United Kingdom before they would be able to return to South Africa, she said.

She said it seemed that South Africans wanted to return home despite some negative publicity surrounding the upcoming general elections on April 22, the unpopular black economic empowerment policies and crime.

"They believed that skills shortages ensured that correctly skilled people were still finding jobs regardless of colour and that there were many opportunities associated with infrastructure developments ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup," she said.

But in contrast, Campbell said most of the overseas enquiries from Europeans looking for second or holiday homes or to invest in South African farms, had dropped.

The return of expats has, however, helped the South African property market, she said.

"People's decisions to return have had a favourable effect on our rental market. " In fact, rental returns are becoming stronger every day. "People with investment properties are seeing a better return only from rentals but ongoing drops in interest rates," she said.

Campbell said South Africans abroad had often saved substantial sums and therefore could stomach bank's tightened lending criteria.

"Exchange rates also worked in their favour as they are getting a good rate. "At present £10,000 equates to about R140,000 which is a generous deposit on a R1.4m purchase," she said.

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