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.
For savvy South Africans who wish to diversify their investment portfolios by gaining a foothold on the global property ladder, this strategic alliance comes at a time when increasing numbers of affluent locals, including families, are looking to hedge their bets overseas.
“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, a leader in residence and citizenship planning with 27 offices around the world.
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.
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 relatively affordable five-year (mainly property) investment of between EUR 520,000 and EUR 570,000, successful applicants of the Malta Residence and Visa Program acquire long-term unrestricted access to the entire European Schengen area, and the right to reside in the 40th most competitive economy in the world – all within just three months of applying. And, for those who can resist the lure of the Mediterranean island’s 340 days-per-year sunshine average, there’s no reason to abandon local shores as Maltese residence requires no physical presence in the country whatsoever.
“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.
“Our alliance with Henley & Partners means that, for this category of buyer, we are uniquely equipped to provide an all-encompassing professional service,” he says. “Pam Golding Properties is recognised locally and internationally as southern Africa’s leading independent – and most awarded – real-estate group. We have an extensive knowledge of the property markets in a selection of the countries currently offering attractive and legally compliant citizenship-by-investment programmes, including Malta, Cyprus, Portugal and Grenada, and we present a customised portfolio of preselected properties to investors based on their specific preferences and criteria. We manage all the real-estate purchasing processes, including negotiations with local agents, property developers and legal representatives.”
Adds Immelman: “Henley & Partners, meanwhile, is the global leader in residence and citizenship planning, upon whose expertise thousands of wealthy individuals and families have relied for over 20 years. The firm, in turn, provides a comprehensive service throughout the entire residence- or citizenship-application process, as well as concierge services and support after a client’s residence or citizenship is granted.
“Working in collaboration, then, Pam Golding Properties and Henley & Partners is able to significantly expand the options for wealthy individuals and their families to secure their futures while, at the same time, diversifying their portfolios via a real-estate investment with sound capital-growth potential.”