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9th November, 2021

Buying Property in South Africa: Everything You Should Know

Buying Property in South Africa: Everything You Should Know

Renowned worldwide as the ‘Rainbow Nation’, a term coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa offers a diverse range of climates, geography, cultures and opportunities all under one roof. On October the 13th, we were joined by Stephen de Stadler, CEO of Fine & Country South Africa to delve into the world of South African real estate taking us through everything we needed to know about buying property in the country.

“Whether you are looking for the ultimate safari experience in the stunning South African bush, or visiting the most beautiful Blue Flag beaches on both sides of our coastline, or meandering up the breathtaking mountain ranges that carve their path across our country – South Africa offers something to suit just about anyone.”

- Stephen de Stadler, CEO of Fine & Country South Africa


Every year prior to the COVID pandemic tourists would flock to South Africa in the hundreds and thousands to take advantage of the idyllic weather. The favourable South African climate varies from region to region but overall, you can expect blue skies and sunshine. Here’s what you can expect across some of the regions:

• The Western Cape enjoys temperate summers enhanced by the refreshing breeze off of the Atlantic Ocean. Winters on the West Coast can prove quite chilly with rainfall, gusting wind and in some parts snow.

• South Africa’s East Coast on the other hand experiences much warmer and more humid summers, with rainfall throughout the seasons and more moderate winters. This section of coastline benefits from the warm Agulhas ocean current, which sweeps southward along the Indian Ocean coastline, meaning that it is nearly 6º C warmer than temperatures at the same latitude on the Atlantic Ocean (Western) coast.

• The climate patterns of the plateau or interior are dry, sunny winters, where it can get cold at night, and hot summers where you may experience a majestic afternoon thundershower.


South Africans love sport of all kinds and many of our national sides have performed well on the international stage. The most popular sports include soccer (or football), rugby, cricket, and netball. With 3 World Cup Rugby wins and being the host of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, South Africa offers world-class stadiums and sports facilities that have hosted many other memorable events.

Compare South Africa's quality of life with other countries around the world here.

The property buying process in South Africa

There are two prevalent portals in South Africa where agents display their properties for sale as well as their own agency website. The process for buying a property in South Africa is straightforward; it involves a seller, a buyer, a qualified estate agent and a single transferring attorney. A transferring attorney is a legal practitioner and qualified conveyancer who specialises in attending to the transfer of ownership of immovable property. This includes the transfer of private or residential property such as a house or sectional title unit (for instance a townhouse) or commercial property such as a shopping centre.

The process is different to elsewhere in the World in that an offer is accepted and agreed in writing between the buyer, seller, and estate agent before going to a further party to deal with the legalities. Generally, you would expect around 10% of the purchase price to go towards transfer and legal fees as a seller. The transfer process for South Africa can range from 6 weeks to 3 months.

Capital gains tax applies to profits made on property sales in the country, with various impacts depending on the nature of the seller and the property, but as a general rule for a natural seller the first ZAR2,000,000 is exempt from CGT on a primary residence, whether after 40% of the balance of the capital gain is taxed at the maximum marginal rate of the taxpayer, which typically means an effective rate of up to 18%.

Who are the most common buyers?

Buyers from overseas are drawn mostly to South Africa for the climate. Pre-covid these buyers were mainly from the UK and Germany. Lifestyle estates are en-vogue in the country and are the primary property of choice for ex-pats because of their security benefits. Public transport is not as prevelent in the country as many other areas of the world, and so having your own car is vital to anyone looking to move to South Africa, making a parking space essential when searching for a property. Fortunately, most residences come with garages and parking on-site.

South African property market

The nation has undoubtedly been through tough times in the past 10 years, but there is increased optimism for the economy and a positive outlook for business. South Africa has proven its resilience over and over again and its economic outlook is no different. 70% of CEO's are confident in South Africa’s economic growth over the next 3 years, from a business confidence point of view this is important as this will drive the economy going forward.

The South African Reserve Bank's repo rate is at a record low of 3.5% and is aimed at continuing to support South Africa's economic recovery, the economy is seen to be growing 1.7% in 2022 and 1.8% predicted for 2023. There is cheap and abundant credit available, leading to an increase in property sales. National year-on-year property price inflation is currently sitting at 4.9% and has been positive since 2010 with the lowest at just over 2% in 2019 and just over 7% in 2014.

The favourable exchange rate to foreign buyers makes South Africa an exceptional opportunity when considering buying overseas.

“We look forward to entertaining and looking after you in this wonderful place that we call home.”

- Stephen de Stadler, CEO of Fine & Country South Africa

Contact us

Are you dreaming of an elevated lifestyle comprising the best of city and island living combined? Contact Fine & Country South Africa today to start your journey.

If you would like to learn more about alternative lifestyle and investment opportunities around the world, get caught up on our Worldwide Wanderlust webinar series.

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