- By September this year, it is estimated that there were just over 35 000 so-called high-net worth individuals living in SA.
- A new report by New World Wealth and Steyn City defines this as people with more than R14.5 million in net assets.
- Various things attract high-net worth individuals to SA, including lifestyle aspects like the weather.
Despite socio-economic challenges, 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. It includes all their assets (property, cash, equities, business interests) less any liabilities. The report defines high-net worth individuals as those with net assets of US$1 million (about R14.5 million) or more. Most of them are based in Johannesburg (Sandton especially), Cape Town, Umhlanga and Pretoria.
Of these there are about 1 800 individuals with net assets of US$10 million (about R145 million) or more and 86 with net assets of US$100 million or more.
By September this year, it is estimated that there were just over 35 000 of these wealthy people living in SA, twice as many as in any other African country, the study found. SA ranks 30th in the world by this measure, ahead of countries like Greece, Portugal and Turkey.
Various things attract high-net worth individuals to SA, including lifestyle aspects like the weather, beaches and scenery. The media being regarded as free is also regarded as helping to disseminate reliable information to investors. According to the report, this sets South Africa apart from most other emerging markets worldwide.
SA also has one of the 20 biggest stock exchanges in the world by market cap, and a well-developed banking system and large fund management sector, making it a hub for doing business in the rest of Africa.
The wealthy also appreciate 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 SA 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 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.
Last but not least, they appreciate SA's good transport infrastructure.