Foreign home buyers increase again

While fewer South Africans were selling their homes in order to emigrate, the percentage of foreign buyers of local houses was rising, reports John Graham CEO of HouseCheck.

Graham says that the FNB estate agent survey for the last quarter of 2012 shows that the percentage of home sellers who were selling to emigrate dropped to 3 per cent of all sellers  – this was the lowest number of potential emigrant sellers since 2008.

At the same time confidence of foreigners in South African property is again growing. Foreign buyers as a percentage of the total SA home market rose to 3.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012.   This is still way below the high of 6.5 per cent of 2008, but is well up on the 2 per cent of foreign buyers reached in late 2010.

In previous years foreign home buyers were one of the main drivers of the South African home inspection industry.  However, Graham says that this established international trend for house buyers to use the services of professional home inspectors is now also becoming the norm among South African home buyers.

“Buying a house without knowing its true condition can be incredibly risky”, says Graham.  “The only way buyers can protect themselves again the voetstoots clause is to employ the services of a home inspector so that the condition of the house is properly understood.”

Graham explains that the voetstoots (“as is”) clause is routinely inserted in offer to purchase agreements by estate agents in order to protect sellers and agents.  He advises that all South African home buyers – both local and foreign – should make their offer to purchase “subject to a satisfactory home inspection”.

John Graham

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