The New World Wealth report estimates that by September this year, there were just over 35 000 high-net-worth individuals with assets of US$1 million – about R14.5 million or more – living in SA.
Despite the country’s socio-economic challenges and predictions of doom and gloom, there is still a number of factors that actually make South Africa attractive to so-called high-net-worth individuals, according to a new report by New World Wealth and Steyn City.
“Wealth” is defined as the net assets of a person and includes all their assets (property, cash, equities, business interests) less liabilities.
The New World Wealth report defines high-net-worth individuals as those with net assets of US$1 million (about R14.5 million) or more.
Of these, there are about 1800 individuals with net assets of US$10 million (about R145 million) or more and 86 with net assets of US$100 million or more.
Most of them are based in Johannesburg (Sandton especially), Cape Town, Umhlanga, and Pretoria.
By September this year, it was estimated that there were just over 35000 of these wealthy people living in SA, twice as many as in any other African country.
South Africa ranks 30th in the world by this measure, ahead of countries like Greece, Portugal and Turkey.
Various factors attract high-net-worth individuals to SA, including lifestyle aspects like the weather, beaches, and scenery.
The media, deemed as being free, is also regarded as helping to disseminate reliable information to investors.
This sets South Africa apart from most other emerging markets worldwide, the report states.
SA also has one of the 20 biggest stock exchanges in the world by market capitalization, along with a well-developed banking system and a large fund management sector, making it a stable hub for doing business in and with the rest of Africa.
The wealthy also appreciates the availability of high-end food stores and world-class shopping centres for their convenience and they like to frequent areas regarded as “exclusive” such as Umhlanga Rocks and the Atlantic Seaboard in Cape Town.
Top-end estates and apartments available in SA is another attractive factor.
The report says Mzansi is even seen as a ‘global pioneer’ in estate living and is home to many of the world’s best lifestyle estates.
New World Wealth estimates that over 45% of SA’s super wealthy either live or have homes on such estates.
An additional 30% have homes in luxury apartment blocks.
In fact, the report found that luxury apartment blocks have been the fastest growing residential segment in SA over the past 20 years in terms of price growth.
SA’s good transport infrastructure is also a factor.