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Russians Boost South Africas Luxury Real Estate

South Africa... lacks thelegal hassle offoreign property purchasing found inother countries...

Published: August 20, 2014 (Issue # 1825)



  • Rich Russians are increasingly keen on buying into the sun, sea and mountain lifestyle on offer in South Africa.
    Photo: Warren Rohner / Wikimedia Commons

  • Cape Towns the Castle has been bought by a wealthy Russian for $2.2 million.
    Photo: Damien du Toit / Wikimedia Commons

CAPE TOWN, South Africa Nestled incongruously inthe hill overlooking asheltered cove, dusted with white sands andlined onthree sides bymountain peaks, looms a20th-century castle.

Rimmed with turrets andpunctuated bya high central tower, theedifice is areplica ofthe Lichtenstein Castle, ahistoric neo-Gothic fortress built ona cliff insouthern Germany inthe mid-1800s.

Cape Towns version, completed in1998 andknown tolocals simply as the Castle, boasts 12 bedrooms, aswimming pool, anda banquet hall lined with stained-glass windows andsuits ofarmour. Theproperty, overlooking thecitys Hout Bay, contains ahelipad anda natural waterfall, andis accessible only bya helicopter or theprivate mountain road.

One ofthe most famous real estate landmarks inCape Town, theCastle used tobe aguest house andpopular venue forwedding receptions.

Now, it is owned bya Russian.

Though therealtors that closed thedeal in2012 refused todivulge theidentity ofthe new owners, they told West Cape News that theresidence was sold toa high-profile Russian businessman for$2.2 million.

TheCastle isnt theonly piece ofprime real estate tobe scooped off theCape Town market byRussians. Local real estate agents say wealthy Russian buyers have purchased numerous other multi-million-dollar homes along thecitys picturesque coast inthe last several years, tapping intothe regions mix ofsun, sea andmountains.

They [Russians] like lifestyle properties, said Brendan Miller, head ofSouth Africas Atlantic seaboard atSothebys International Realty, aluxury global real estate agency. High-end beachfront andseaside houses ranging from10 million to40 million South African rand ($950,000 to$3.8 million) are inthe highest demand fromRussian clients, Miller said.

Bargain Prices

Foreign interest inSouth African real estate, infact, is reaching apeak, which economists say is being partly driven bya weakened local currency that has boosted major global currencies buying power.

TheSouth African rand has been depreciating since mid-2011, according toeconomic data analysis center CEIC, making residential real estate here much cheaper forforeign currency earners. Areport published bySouth African lender First National Bank, or FNB, last month found that housing prices inSouth Africa are down 21.7 percent ineuro terms and19.4 percent indollar terms compared with theend of2010. While theRussian ruble has also slid against these currencies, its depreciation has been slower.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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