Pam Golding Properties' International Division has partnered with global investment-migration firm Henley & Partners to provide buyers seeking international property assets with a view to acquiring dual residence or citizenship, an end-to-end service.
“We are experiencing a rising demand for international residency and citizenship options from clients wanting to firm up their future planning objectives, be that simply from a lifestyle point of view or as a rand hedge in times of economic uncertainty,” says Nigel Barnes, managing partner of the South African branch of Henley & Partners.
He attributes this to a number of factors, from aspirational lifestyle changes and career opportunities to the recent credit ratings downgrades and the potential effects of junk status on the economy. “A far greater awareness of the vast opportunities presented globally has captured the attention of many South Africans, who are assessing the available options for diversifying their personal interests and investment assets beyond the country’s borders,” he says.
Investors not necessarily emigrating
While Chris Immelman, who heads up Pam Golding’s International Division, agrees that a number of the country’s super-wealthy are migrating themselves and part of their assets offshore, he says this does not mean they have lost faith in South Africa. “These people are not necessarily emigrating. They are merely making the world’s markets work for them, repositioning their assets, and their homes, for a while.”
Barnes confirms that the majority of his clients have no intention of permanently relocating, adding that there is no reason to do so either. “The very competitive citizenship-by-investment programmes offered by some of the island nations in the Caribbean, for instance, have no residence or visitation requirements at all,” he explains, adding that the residence programme of Malta, is another case in point.
For a five-year (mainly property) investment of between €520,000 and €570,000, successful applicants of the Malta Residence and Visa Programme acquire long-term unrestricted access to the entire European Schengen area, and the right to reside in the country. Maltese residence requires no physical presence in the country whatsoever.
Diversified property portfolios
“The fact is that foreign property ownership has always held wide appeal for the affluent,” says Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group. “Many of these top-end buyers are actually purchasing seaside residential properties or other ‘lifestyle properties’ abroad. These not only provide a holiday destination or a second or third home, but they represent an excellent means of diversifying their property portfolios and securing a sound long-term investment – and, if that investment comes with the advantage of residence or citizenship status, then so much the better. In addition, many of our South African buyers are looking to create international opportunities for their children and enabling them to study, live and work in a European country has undoubted appeal."