Cash-flush Sub-Saharan visitors eye Sandton

News > news - 29 Nov 2011
This is the view of luxury home marketing specialist Ronald Ennik, CEO of Ennik Estates, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate.

To illustrate the point, Ennik says:

“We are seeing an uptrend in interest from Southern and Central African based investors in top end properties in central Sandton areas such as Sandhurst and Hyde Park

“Invariably they are executives who are continually mobile between Europe, South Africa and the rest of Africa – particularly within the realms of banking, other financial services, trade and industry,” says Ronald.

“The underlying reason for this interest is the explosion of economic activity and growth in sub-Saharan Africa – where consumer spending is expected to reach US$1-trillion by 2020, compared with US$600-billion in 2010.

“It has come predominantly on the back of two major factors:
  • the smartphone revolution that is sweeping through Africa, making it possible for domestic and cross-border trade to happen even in areas with little or no infrastructure
  • the rising flow of foreign investment into Africa – not least from BRIC countries China, Brazil, India and, of course, South Africa,” says Ennik.

“This is reinforced by the fact that Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) – reportedly the largest bank in the world (by market capitalisation) – opened an office in Cape Town this month,” he adds.

“This economic metamorphosis in Africa is creating a new generation of cash-flush Sub-Saharan African executives, investors, entrepreneurs, and even informal traders, who are now regular visitors to Johannesburg. And Sandton is usually the base from which they conduct their business” says Ronald.
“The reverse of the process is that Sandton also tends to be home to the expatriate personnel of foreign business interests that use South Africa as the doorway to the trade and investment opportunities that now abound in Africa.

“For these business visitors, Sandton is their shopping basket – particularly the new-look, state-of-the-art Sandton City, where some of the world’s iconic brands, including Zara, have recently opened outlets. Others, such as H&M and Topshop, are set to follow.

“More important, Sandton is also their viewing platform for the residential property investment opportunities that the area has to offer – in a truly First World environment, characterised by a vibrant and rich diversity of high street living,” says Ennik.

Sandton’s rich mosaic of five-star hotels, restaurants and clubs, as well as the world-class Gautrain rapid rail system right on its doorstep, add to the appeal, he concludes.
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