World Cup spawns property surge

01 August 2010 - 02:00 By Business Times

Luxury game lodges, boutique hotels and guest houses have topped the list of exotic purchases by wealthy World Cup visitors.

Pam Golding Lodges and Guesthouses this week reported an interest for properties among the international visitors.

The interested buyers ranged from royalty to European entrepreneurs. Some of them were represented by their private agents who jetted into the country, particularly to Franschhoek and Hermanus in the Western Cape.

Although the names of the buyers are secret, Pam Golding recently sold a four-star, 24-bedroom Cape Town hotel, La Splendida, for R28.6-million.

Other establishments changing hands include a 35-room hotel in Cape Town's City Bowl, snapped up for R40-million.

Pam Golding director Peter Bruil credited the FifaWorld Cup for the surge in demand. "There's no doubt that the huge boost in exposure for South Africa during this event is drawing increasing global interest in our hospitality establishments. We've been extremely busy showing various establishments to Chinese and French investors visiting Cape Town and the winelands."

Millionaire agents make a killing

Doug McMeeking has joined an elite club of estate agents who have sold properties worth more than R60-million in just one year.

The sales alone have earned McMeeking more than R1-million in commission.

Two years ago, it was reported that one estate agency, Remax, boasted 124 millionaire estate agents - and most of them marketed homes in middle-class suburbs.

The agents had reportedly earned more than R1-million in sales' commissions in just 11 months. One agent pocketed more than R7-million.

But agents on Cape Town's Atlantic Seaboard, where several homes are priced above R100-million, can fetch even more.

Cape Town agent Marion Taylor scored a quick commission for selling an 18m² garage in Clifton for R2-million.

McMeeking, who works for Seeff Properties, sold about 20 properties last year in Hurlingham, one of Johannesburg's exclusive northern suburbs.

Buyers swamped with good deals

Property buyers are back and getting fantastic bargains, according to Lew Geffen, chairman of Sotheby's International Realty SA.

"We are selling more properties and selling them faster," he said, adding that his office and its branches had recorded a 30% increase in sales volumes for the second quarter, compared to the same period last year.

"And we are seeing the emergence of big-ticket property sales again," he said. The chief reason for this, he added, was that buyers were getting good deals.

"Our average sale price has actually come down from R2.4-million at this time last year to R2-million, and there is a clear perception among buyers that now is the best time to get value for their money.

"The other major factor is a new spirit of optimism about the economy and the country as a whole that emerged even before the start of the World Cup."