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Friday Jul 17, 2009

Property opportunities now in Swaziland

The worldwide economic crunch has left its mark on the tiny kingdom of Swaziland, but has also created opportunities for South African property investors.

Gaetan Ning, owner of the local Aida franchise, said residential sales in the country had dropped about 20 percent since last year, but auction numbers were up.

"Local buyers are cautious, and we are seeing the impact of the recession on our market for second and third homes, traditionally the mainstay of the local property market," said Ning.

"However, Ezulwini is bucking the trend. It is becoming a tourism hub and there is a strong migration of local middle class buyers to the area. This has led to a surge in local prices with a jump from an average R150 a square metre a year ago to the current average of R200/m2 - a spectacular achievement at present." Ning says South African buyers are still showing interest in Swazi property.

"A current trend is investment in golf estates, especially Nkoyeni, about 45km from Mbabane, where 2 000m2 stands sell for about R500 000. This is excellent value when compared to prices in South African golf developments," he said.

Swaziland's relatively low crime rate and the slower pace of living contributed to the country's allure for South Africans who wanted to invest in holiday properties or second homes, he said.

"We hope the decrease in interest rates will spark renewed activity in the market as a whole, and we are quietly optimistic that the market in general will start showing a recovery," Ning said.

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