CAPE TOWN: South Africans selling their homes to emigrate survey asks estate agents to provide estimates as to what the main reason for selling their homes is. One of the eight options is “selling to emigrate” The survey began in early 2008 when levels for selling to emigrate was at its highest – over 20%. Since then, there was a downward trend with another spike towards 2011. It was at its lowers level the final quarter of 2013, with just 2% of people listing emigration as a reason for selling.
Emigration-related selling is arguably a good confidence indicator when it comes to how middle to higher income households perceive the long-term economic and financial future of the country, but also appears to have a strong cyclical component to it.
We watched this estimated percentage peak at 20% in the 3rd quarter of 2008, in the midst of a sharp domestic recession, and then fade away to that 2% late in 2013 in seeming lagged response to an economic recovery from 2009 to around 2011. Then, with the economy’s growth stagnating from around 2012, further exacerbated by interest rate hiking from early-2014, the percentage of emigration-related selling began to rise once more.
But we believe that it was driven by a bit more than recent economic performance alone. 2017 saw widely publicized rating agency downgrades to so-called “junk status”, which were in part reflective of a lack of clear policy direction aimed at improving economic growth performance.