Sunday, December 30, 2018

Elections, Land Reform Could Impact South Africa Property in 2019
29 DEC, 2018 - 00:12 

JOHANNESBURG. – An election year – which South Africa will see in 2019 – is always an interesting one for the property market, says Bruce Swain, CEO of Leapfrog Property Group.

According to Swain, this is because elections signal uncertainty, which generally sees a reluctance by buyers to commit.

“Uncertainty tends to evoke unease, and purchasing a property is a big decision (and investment), which needs to be coupled with confidence. This may seem elusive when the political future of a country is unclear,” Swain said in a statement.

“The closer we get to the election, the more obvious the general sentiment around the favourability of investments will become.”

The question of land expropriation would be a further factor, he added.

“There is definitely still some concern around this issue, which means buyers are cautious and sellers are sometimes over-eager,” said Swain.

“At no point has government indicated that it would be pushing through a policy in which residential homes would be seized, and (government has said) any land reform measures would not be at the expense of the economy, national security and food production.”

Although Swain acknowledges there is a chance that certain categories of land could be expropriated, he says the approach at Leapfrog is that, as far as residential property is concerned, its message is “business as usual”.

Swain said that what happens in the property market is often a reflection of what’s happening in the country at large – politically, economically and socially.

“With the country just recently emerging from a technical recession, market movements continue to be slow,” he said.

“Currently we’re seeing residential property that is well priced because of a lower demand, which is good news for buyers, while serious sellers will likely be forced to err on the side of conservative when it comes to establishing their selling price.”

In his view, it’s likely that the demand for property in sectional title and security estates will continue to grow in 2019.

“New sectional title units are often more affordable than freehold properties, and thus an easier way to enter the property market,” said Swain.

… as 86% of top SA executives would move abroad – survey

Over the past three years, there has been a consistent year-on-year increase in the number of professionals who would consider leaving the country, according to Advaita Naidoo, chief operations officer at executive search firm Jack Hammer.

In 2018, 86 percent of top SA executives polled in the latest Jack Hammer Executive Report indicated that they would take seriously an offer to move abroad.

The results show that the percentage of executives willing to relocate abroad has significantly jumped from 47 percent in 2016 and 78 percent in 2017.

“Unfortunately, this also bodes ill for transformation, as 49 percent of those interested in relocating to ‘greener pastures’ were black respondents,” says Naidoo. In her view, this trend – of senior professionals from all backgrounds who are willing to consider a future outside of the country – is likely to persist in coming years.

“This presents a substantial challenge for companies wanting to secure the best leaders, particularly given the economic challenges which further impact an organisation’s ability to lure and secure top talent,” she says.

According to Naidoo, South African managers are held in high regard internationally and have a reputation for being hard workers.

“So, we have an unfortunate situation, where the number of top professionals committed to a career future in SA is diminishing, while the demand for their expertise is not,” she adds.

“In times of difficulty, it is more important than ever to convince professionals with a strong track record that despite the current climate, your organisation will continue to offer opportunities worth staying for.”

Although there is not much an organisation can do to retain valuable employees whose reasons for leaving are based on socio-economic-political concerns about the future, they are not completely powerless.

Naidoo says if things are going really well for someone professionally, and the company is acknowledging them with career opportunities and financial rewards, the inclination to look abroad might be a little less enticing.

– Fin24

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