A recent wealth study shows some 680 000 mass affluent - or what can be considered upper-middle-class individuals with net assets of US$100 000 or more - are living in South Africa.
"Most of SA's wealthiest individuals are based in Johannesburg (Sandton especially), Cape Town, Umhlanga and Pretoria," says Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth.
The current state of the SA wealth market was recently reviewed in a collaborative study by wealth intelligence firm New World Wealth and luxury lifestyle development Steyn City. According to the study, South Africa is home to over twice as many millionaires (HNWIs) as any other African country.
The country ranks 30th in the world by this measure, ahead of major economies such as Greece, Portugal and Turkey. In addition to the 680k mass affluent individuals who have a residence in SA, approximately 35,000 millionaires, each with net assets of US$1 million or more, also live in SA. Add to these some 1,800 multi-millionaires each with net assets of US$10 million or more, 86 centi-millionaires each with net assets of US$100 million or more and just 5 billionaires each with net assets of US$1 billion or more - either live in SA or have property here.
Things that attract HNWIs to SA include:
- Lifestyle aspects: weather, beaches and scenery.
- A large free media which helps disseminate reliable information to investors. This sets South Africa apart from most other emerging markets worldwide.
- One of the 20 biggest stock exchanges in the world (by market cap).
- A well-developed banking system and large fund management sector.
- Hub for doing business in the rest of Africa.
- Luxury food stores such as Woolworths, which appeal to wealthy consumers.
- Exclusive areas such as Umhlanga Rocks and the Atlantic Seaboard in Cape Town.
- Top-end estates and apartments.
- Good transport infrastructure.
- World-class shopping centres such as Gateway, Sandton City and the V&A Waterfront.
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SA is said to be a global pioneer in estate living and is home to many of the world's best lifestyle estates - also a major draw-card for these HNWIs. New World Wealth estimates that over 45% of SA HNWIs either live or have homes on estates. "An additional 30% have homes in luxury apartment blocks, which have been the fastest-growing residential segment in SA over the past 20 years in terms of price growth."
Estate living continues to buck the trend in the property market, offering security, exclusivity, and myriad facilities which now often include schools, shopping malls and in some cases a beach.
Not too long ago, the primary drawcard of residential estates was the peace of mind afforded by enhanced security with a handful offering the additional benefit of a golf course, but the traditional model has evolved, with a proliferation of lifestyle estates now catering to myriad lifestyle preferences.
In a forecast for 2021 Property Trends, Amoils says he believes "more top-end lifestyle & golf estates will add apartments onto their offerings, with a move away from houses, while parkland and eco-estates with nice parks, birdlife, walks and trails will become more popular".
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With more and more people making major lifestyle changes in recent years, developers have augmented their offerings to cater to these needs and, as a result, not only do most estates now offer additional amenities, in many instances, they are more like integrated villages than residential developments.
Steve Thomas, Secure Estate Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty in Constantiaberg, says, "It's become increasingly common for an estate to at least offer a clubhouse or fitness centre and one or two sporting facilities, and many now also offer restaurant and retail components and some are even adding schools."
Steyn City leading the charge in Gauteng
In Gauteng Steyn City, although not yet complete, already offers residents a choice of restaurants and delis, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus designed golf course, an equestrian centre, tennis, cycling tracks, parkland facilities, gyms and an aquatic centre to name but a few.
According to Philip Myburgh, Co-Principal for the group in the Greater Fourways area, the estate is fast becoming extremely popular for its security, exclusivity, and myriad facilities which will also include schools, a shopping mall and even a beach once finished.
"This is most certainly becoming the place to live and be seen and we receive enquiries from across the board, however, the estate is an exclusive one and is pricey to get into although, considering all the on-site facilities and exceptional quality, it offers excellent value for money."
Ultimate merging of Pearl Valley and Val de Vie in the Western Cape
The first being the merging of Pearl Valley and Val de Vie a few years ago. This sought-after estate now offers upmarket multigenerational living with a luxury retirement component included and a host of world-class facilities including restaurants, sports centres, a business centre and equestrian centre.
Garden Route's Fancourt sets the benchmark for Golfers
Fancourt is located in George on the Garden Route. It is undoubtedly South Africa's top estate for golfers, with three highly rated courses on one estate. The two original courses (the Montagu and the Outeniqua) were built in the early '90s, while the world-famous Fancourt Links was added in 2000.
There are several different residential areas on the estate including Colonial Lodges, Cape Dutch Homes, Oakland Residences, Links Avenue Properties, Links Ridge Properties and Montagu Ridge Properties. House prices on the estate range from R3 million to R50 million.
'Increasing number of estates that cater to niche markets'
Thomas adds that there is also an increasing number of estates that cater to niche markets, such as eco estates and equestrian developments.
"Traditionally, buildings were purposely designed to separate and insulate us from nature, but we are becoming increasingly aware of the myriad benefits of being in a natural environment.
"People are not only wanting to escape the congestion of city living but are also in search of a more tranquil lifestyle in closer harmony with nature, and there has been a notable move towards more environmentally conscious building and living.
"Additionally, the burgeoning demand for homes in secure estates during in recent years has precipitated a move from rampant development to sustainable, environmentally conscious building in this sector and we have begun to see a growing number of eco-estates, especially along South Africa's scenic coastal areas.
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"Estates like Stonehurst and Chapman's Bay have perfected the fine balance between ecological sensitivity and meeting the modern-day lifestyle needs of residents."
Ongoing densification has also led to the establishment of equestrian estates, and in the Cape Winelands
, these have become more mainstream than niche in recent years, according to Chris Cilliers, CEO and Co-Principal of Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty in the Winelands
"Equestrian people have a unique set of requirements. Not only do they want secure and carefree living for themselves but they also want a secure and healthy living environment for their horses with plenty of space and exercise facilities as well as safe areas for outriding.
"Most equestrian estates also offer larger plot sizes which appeals to people who prefer a more rural lifestyle.
"There are now a number of top-class equestrian estates in the region, including Val de Vie which also has polo fields, High Riding, Tre Donne in The Winelands, Wedderwill in Helderberg and Klein Zevenwacht in Kuilsriver."
She adds that parkland and wildlife estates with parks, birdlife, wildlife, walks and trails are becoming more popular, especially with city dwellers looking to enjoy a country lifestyle within a secure setting.
"For instance, sustainability has been at the heart of the Val de Vie's ethos since inception in 2004, and the estates 40-hectare biodiversity corridor rehabilitation program is designed to rehabilitate the area back to a more natural ecologically functional unit.
"It's now home to over a hundred bird species as well as small mammals such as duiker and African porcupines and 12 large lakes totalling 8 hectares are habitat for Cape clawless otters and a wide range of waterfowl and fish."
'Residential Estates will continue to buck the trend'
Thomas adds, "Residential estates have continued to buck the downward trend in the property market by consistently attracting buyers, despite the economic climate.
"Young families are especially increasingly drawn to secure lifestyle estates where their children can safely play and onsite amenities like fitness centres and sports facilities mean that people can also avoid additional driving to places like gyms and tennis clubs.
"Most estates also offer a great sense of community which has been lacking in traditional suburban areas for many years and those which offer multigenerational living and retirement facilities mean that families can also stay together and live in the same community."
*NNW Note: "Wealth" refers to the net assets of a person. It includes all their assets (property, cash, equities, business interests) less any liabilities.