Think we have it bad? It could be worse!

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

We might moan about rising property prices in South Africa, but a look at London’s property market puts things into perspective.

Property prices are rising steadily in South Africa, leading some to bemoan the fact that they are going to have to make enormous sacrifices if they want to invest in a home. However, everything is relative and it appears that South Africans are having a pretty easy time of things when compared to those who wish to invest in one of the world's most popular cities - London.

A recent insert on Sky News reported that a flat measuring 150 square feet (47.224 square metres) is currently on the market for £275 000 (approximately R5-million). While the average home in the UK is generally smaller and a lot more expensive than those on offer in this country, this listing has certainly got the Brits’ tongues wagging. Touted as being the smallest currently on the market, (by spreading your arms, you can touch both sides of the property at the same time) this home takes the idea of living in a confined space to new heights.

For starters, the buyer will have to stand on his kitchen counter in order to get in and out of his bed which is situated on a mezzanine level above the minute kitchen (complete with two plate hob) and a tiny combined toilet and shower room. The lounge area doesn't really allow for much in the way of furniture, although there is a spare bed/mattress that is stored under the floor.

The property is situated in Islington which not so long ago was home to those who fell into the middle income bracket. People such as teachers, doctors and journalists all put down roots there until the London property boom took hold. These days many can no longer afford to buy property in this historical part of the city and have moved further afield.

It's no secret that the price of London homes has rocketed in recent times, but while the bulk of buyers appear to be wealthy foreigners, unsurprisingly, many of the wildly expensive homes have remained on the market for extended periods.

Location is everything in the world of property and homes situated in prime areas are going to sell for a higher price. This is to be expected, given that demand drives price and there is always going to be a demand around a thriving commercial hub.

The centre of Cape Town for example is a highly desirable area and prices of apartments and homes in the City Bowl reflect this. Property in this area does not come cheap - a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment, measuring 47m2 is currently on the market for R950 000. Likewise a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment measuring 157m2 is selling for R3.25-million. The unit boasts exceptional finishes, including an imported Italian kitchen, features a 'huge' open plan living area and has views of the city, Table Mountain and the harbour.

The story is much the same in Gauteng, where a one bedroom unit measuring 87m2 in the Michelangelo Towers in Sandown is on the market for R4.4-million. A three bedroom apartment measuring 275m2 in the same complex is selling for R16.5-million. The home features three garages and separate staff quarters.

Given the above, the £275 000 (R5-million) that buyers are expected to pay for what can arguably be called a matchbox doesn't seem that bad – except that Islington, unlike the centre of Cape Town and Sandown, is not regarded as a prime residential area. The City of London is actually where all the action is and a three storey penthouse apartment in this sought after area is on the market for a staggering £4.35-million (R79-million).

All in all it appears that you get a lot more bang for your buck in South Africa. Add the perfect weather and great lifestyle associated with living in this country and it's obvious that we have it made.

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