Number of South Africans selling homes to move abroad has trebled since 2013

Perhaps South Africa looks better on a postcard than it does up close. That certainly seems to be the feeling of a growing community in this country who are selling homes, and plotting their escape routes.

John Loos is an FNB property specialist. As reported by Business Tech, Loos was speaking on Radio 702 this morning. He claimed that a whopping 7.2% of South Africans are putting their houses on the market ‘because they want to emigrate’.

This has shot up from just 2% back in 2013. Even at the end of 2016, that figure stood at 5.8%. But an infamously rough year for SA’s economy seems to have driven that figure to a high, as more people look to up-sticks and go elsewhere.

Loos cited a weakening rand, potential tax hikes, and increasing utility costs as the factors which are helping people make their minds up over a future abroad:

Why South Africans are selling homes and leaving

“The weak rand makes earning in any other hard currency that much more attractive, and I think that can lead to a skills drain. Anyone who tries to tell you that a weak rand is good for the economy is dreaming, it contributes to your skill base erosion.”

“The general tax situation over the last couple of years is that government finances are deteriorating which means they are looking for more ways to make up the revenue shortfall.”

“We have seen it in the lack of adjustment for bracket creep in personal tax, and of course we have also seen it with municipal rates and tariffs have been climbing significantly faster that inflation – most notably in electricity.”

What is a brain drain?

As more people choose to leave Mzansi, a ‘brain drain’ is expected to take hold of the country. Those with the resources to set up overseas usually take a wealth of knowledge and skill with them. As these ‘skilled professionals’ leave, South Africa won’t be able to fill certain technical vacancies with its own citizens.

A dire economy doesn’t just hit us hard in the moment. Its impact will be felt profoundly for years to come.


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