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Property investor interest in South Africa growing but Zimbabwe remains a ‘dark cloud’

According to the country's leading estate agents the number looking for second homes is also increasing as the current buyers' market stimulates demand.

'New investors are not primarily interested in the buy-to-let market. Rather they see the current conditions as a good opportunity to buy quality homes as a longer-term investment that can double up as a holiday home or eventually as a retirement home,' said Berry Everitt of the Chas Everitt International Property Group.

But he warned that, like many other markets, South Africa is suffering from inflation and a general economic downturn. And industry leaders are concerned about the 'black cloud' of neighbouring Zimbabwe.

'Investors must look before they leap into the market and should, as always, do their homework before they make any offers, the first criterion being to determine whether they can genuinely afford the investment in a second home and to leave room for possible further interest hikes.

'However, even in the current uncertain financial climate, bricks and mortar still represent a solid investment, especially for buyers who are willing to wait for capital growth,' he added.

However the continuing political crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe could have a negative effect on property investment according to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry who described the current situation as 'a black cloud'.

'The political turmoil in Zimbabwe and the poor response it has elicited from certain African quarters has led to negative sentiment towards southern Africa. This accordingly weighs negatively on business confidence in South Africa and has implications for all sectors including property,' said a spokesman.