Steady influx of European pensioners into SA

Pensioners, especially from southern Europe who are seeing their
pensions and other benefits erode as a result of austerity measures
introduced by the European Union, are looking at some unusual parts of
South Africa to resettle.
One of these areas is the West Rand which includes Florida, Roodepoort
and even the old mining town of Randfontein. Fred Steffers, managing
director of Krugersdorp-based Apex Property Brokers said he has had
numerous enquiries during November and December from Europeans who
were on holiday in South Africa and who were looking to resettle.
“Obviously the well-heeled crowd are looking at the western Cape
including the Winelands and the Natal south Coast. For the
hard-pressed Greeks, Spanish and Portuguese nationals, something that
offers substantially better value for money and is at the same time
affordable has brought the West Rand into sharp focus.”
There are several reasons why South Africa has become a preferred
destination for these pensioner immigrants, Steffers said.
“First of all the visa requirements are fairly lenient and as long as
an pensioner immigrant can prove that they have an adequate visible
means of support and that they will not become a burden to the state,
visas are usually fairly easily obtainable. There are sizeable Greek
and Portuguese communities already in the country that provide a
ready-made support system. South Africa being a nation of immigrants
means that they are usually welcomed with open arms.”
The fact that bonds are fairly easily available if the buyer is able
to ante up a sizeable deposit is an additional factor that makes the
country an attractive proposition, as is the fact that interest rates
are at historic lows.
Steffers said the foreign demand for properties is growing at an
exponential rate but is important to note that owners need to price
their homes at realistic prices.
“European immigrants are getting around ten Rand for every Euro they
bring into the country, plus properties in South Africa have
historically been priced substantially below their European
counterparts, makes South Africa a very attractive destination.
“In most cases, we are able to offer much the same infrastructure in
terms of shopping and recreational facilities as their home countries.
In additional, retirement villages are springing up all over the place
for a time when these individuals may need additional care and
support,” Steffers said.
Another positive for foreign buyers is that house prices, according to
almost all indices, are at best flat with a similar outlook going
forward.
There has also been solid interest from buyers in other African states
who see South Africa as a safe haven with a stable democracy free of
wars and revolutions.
At the top of the list are buyers from Nigeria and Uganda with solid
interest from Francophone countries like the Ivory Coast, Steffers
said. There has also been solid interest from foreign buyers in
properties like guest houses and rural estates.

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