Property investors from abroad invade Zimbabwe

CAPE TOWN – Adventurous South African investors are buying property in Zimbabwe despite that country's troubles, says Pam Golding Properties chief executive Andrew Golding.

Both South Africans and Russians had shown enormous interest, he said.

Speaking at the company’s annual media briefing in Cape Town this week, Golding said: "The property market in Zimbabwe, which has been relatively buoyant in recent months, has turned from a sellers’ to a buyers’ market.

"Property there is, however, still seen as an important form of investment, with high interest, especially from South Africa, as well as Russian, buyers. The Russians are everywhere."

He said buyers were seeking residential property in the R2-million to R4,5m range.

"Despite the global economic crisis, Zimbabwe has yet to experience depreciation in house prices and the property market remains relatively unscathed."

He said South African buyers were also interested in the Indian Ocean island market, mainly the Seychelles and Mauritius. They had sold a total of $478m worth of property there in the past year. About 80 percent of the Mauritian sales and about 50 percent of the Seychelles sales went to South African buyers.

Other markets where South Africans were buying "fairly well" were Mozambique, Britain and US.

Seeff property said they also had many South Africans buying in Mauritius because of its proximity to South Africa.

Ian Slot, managing director of Seeff Atlantic Seaboard, CBD, City Bowl and the Waterfront, said they, too, were seeing more and more Russian buyers coming to South Africa. "We sold a property of over R15m to a Russian, and we have more in the pipeline."