As South Africa continues to face an increasingly harsh economic climate due to further credit downgrades and high levels of fiscal uncertainty, more and more local investors are seeking to further diversify their portfolios into safe haven markets as a means to hedge against the rising risk of cost and currency fluctuations.
Elias Tzouvanni, Co-director of Nexus Property Group (NPG), says that this has resulted in an increased appetite among South African investors for overseas property, particularly within the UK and in particular the London (within the M25 motorway) market. “In addition to earning stable returns and serving as protection from the rand’s future volatility, South Africa and England share a long-standing history.
Tzouvanni notes, however, that while many South Africans are understandably eager to gain a foothold on the global property ladder and capitalise on the more developed property market in London, there is often a lack of understanding around the practicalities of purchasing property there, despite having sufficient funds available for the purchase.
“The London property market is highly competitive and options for South African investors to raise finance or conduct lengthy due diligence are therefore not as readily available as they are in South Africa. As the exchange of contracts and deal completion are often very close together, funds have to be available and ready in advance, so that when the opportunity does arise, the property can be secured immediately. Sellers will not entertain any offers subject to finance or any kind of due diligence in most cases.”
As South Africans rarely have access to the deal flow which is available to full time London-based investors who often have decades of experience, Tzouvanni recommends that investors who are interested in this opportunity consult with experts who possess extensive experience in facilitating international transactions of this nature.
“Partnering with a well-established property group will ensure that the process moves as quickly and efficiently as possible,” he adds.
With an office in London and Tzouvanni’s UK market experience since 2001, NPG can handle these transactions in their entirety on behalf of clients, from sourcing the property through to completion and everything in between.