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Foreigners really loved property in Joburg – but not so much in Cape Town – last year

Business Insider SA
The Western Cape has the views – but Gauteng is where foreigners want property.
(Photo by David Silverman/DPSimages, via Getty Images)
The Western Cape has the views – but Gauteng is where foreigners want property. (Photo by David Silverman/DPSimages, via Getty Images)
  • Foreign property buyers preferred various Johannesburg suburbs to Cape Town in 2021 – to a massive extent.
  • On a net basis, foreigners bought more than seven properties in Gauteng for every one they bought in the Western Cape, data from Lightstone shows.
  • The Joburg suburbs of Bryanston, Ferndale, Lone Hill, and Sandown, were particularly popular among foreigners last year.
  • Foreigners were net buyers of property in every province except KwaZulu-Natal.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Last year, foreigners invested heavily in Johannesburg, data from property and automative information company Lightstone shows.

Foreign buyers were active in the Western Cape too, as overall property transactions by foreigners recovered from a pandemic slump – but not nearly to the same extent. On a net basis, foreigners bought more than seven properties in Gauteng for every one they bought in the Western Cape.

In 2020, Lightstone says, foreigners bought 7,125 properties in South Africa, down from more than 8,000 the year before. In 2021, purchases hit a record of nearly 9,500. More than half those purchases were in Gauteng, and 24% were in the Western Cape, with KwaZulu-Natal coming in a far-back third.

But foreigners sold property in the Western Cape almost as fast as they bought it, making for a net of only 188 purchases in that province. In Gauteng, on the other hand, net purchases came to 1,369 – more than double the net purchases for every other province put together.

In KwaZulu-Natal, foreigners were net sellers of property, selling 1,058 and buying only 762.


The most popular suburbs, according to Lightstone's count of property volumes, were:

Bryanston - 102

Ferndale - 84

Lone Hill - 82

Sandown - 81

Parklands – 80

Kensington - 76

Morningside - 73

Table View - 71

Drieziek - 69

Randpark Ridge - 59

Lightstone uses an ID number field in property data to identify foreign buyers and sellers, and can compile all the details about the properties they buy and sell, but can not identify the country of origin of foreigners.

It can, however, determine the age of foreign buyers, and those have been getting younger, Lightstone says. Nearly half of all foreign property buyers are now in the age group between 36 and 49, with another 20% younger than 35. In 2010, by contrast 57% of buyers were at least 50 years old, and nearly a fifth were older than 65.

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