Although those of us living here and earning rands may not believe it, South African property really does offer excellent value for money.
There is, according to various reports, an increase in the number of expats who have decided to return to live in South Africa. It appears that the grass isn't necessarily greener on the other side and those who are returning have cited a number of reasons behind their decision. However, it seems that family ties, the weather and the simple fact that this is 'home' are the main reasons that so many expats are returning.
Quite frankly those who are returning now couldn't have picked a better time. The rand is at record lows and anyone bringing pounds or dollars into the country stands to score, big time.
At the time of writing the rand was trading at R21.36 to the Pound and R13.88 to the US Dollar. This obviously means that those investing in property will get far more than they originally bargained, given the rapid onset of the decline in our currency.
The average price of a property in London is currently sitting around the £500 000 mark. In Rand this translates to around R10-million. Things do become a little more affordable if you buy a property outside of the UK's capital and the latest stats indicate that the average price paid for a home in the rest of the UK is £274 000 (roughly R5.8-million).
Spending £500 000 may not seem that big a deal to those in the money, however, it's worth remembering that this figure is the amount buyers could expect to pay for a studio apartment or a two bedroom maisonette that in this instance features a lounge measuring 4.11m by 5.11m and a master bedroom measuring 2.64m by 2.49m.
Things don't appear to be any easier for buyers hoping to invest in a property in New York. In January this year it was estimated that the average price of an apartment in Manhattan was around $916 000 (around R12.5-million).
The picture doesn't look much better in Sydney in Australia or Auckland in New Zealand where the average price of property is approximately AU$760 000 (R7.3-million) and NZ$670 000 (approximately R5.8-million) respectively. A quick Internet search reveals that a one bedroom apartment measuring a paltry 61m2 in Sydney is currently on the market for AU$745 000.
So what will R10-million buy you in this country? In Cape Town there's a three bedroom property in Camps Bay with unobstructed views of both the mountains and sea that is currently on the market for R9.995-million. For those looking at property in Umhlanga, Durban there's a magnificent 470m2 four bedroom property selling for R9.980-million and for those looking to settle in Gauteng there's a property measuring 600m2 which features five bedrooms and four bathrooms selling for R9.850-million in Bryanston.
Although those of us living here and earning rands may not believe it, South African property really does offer excellent value for money. For starters our homes tend to be bigger than the average home in any of the world's cosmopolitan cities. They are also situated on bigger stands and high-end homes generally feature sophisticated security systems and amenities such as swimming pools. We also have perfect weather. Don't get us wrong, we love the vibe of London, New York and Paris, but living through a winter in any of those locations can be a bit of a drag and while very few would leave a country because the weather is bad, it's surprising how depressing this seemingly inconsequential factor can be and how good it feels to come back to a country where the sun shines for most of the year.