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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

Tuesday, Sept. 30


Local neo-pagans invite all worshipers to the dedication of a new Heart Tree in Sosnovka Park, Gods Wood. 4 p.m.


The second MIFIC Expo begins today at Lenexpo, providing an interactive platform for industry experts and manufacturers. Accessories, surfaces and interior decoration materials are just some of the things that will be available for perusal at the expo, which runs through Oct. 2.



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