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Buy a Property in South Africa

Buy a Property in South Africa

Foreign nationals can buy property in South Africa without limitations and without being constrained to maintain a residency status. This means that property purchase is available both to those who will remain in the country, and those who will not be residing permanently here.

Buying property in South Africa as a foreigner is easier with our help. Our lawyers in South Africa specialise in real estate matters and conveyancing and can guide you each step of the way during the entire purchase process.

If you are ready to buy a house, or another type of property, read the article below for key information on the needed steps for purchasing a house in South Africa, and reach out to our attorneys for any personalized questions.

Main steps to follow when you buy property in South Africa

Foreigners have the same rights as citizens or residents to purchase property in South Africa. However, home ownership does not equal residency, and being the owner of a house in the country does not mean that a foreign national will be granted automatic residency. For this purpose, he or she will need to apply for a residence permit in South Africa.

 Quick Facts  
Foreigners can buy property in South Africa (Yes/No)   Yes

Types of properties for purchase 

Houses, villas, apartments, offices, retail space, etc. 

 Real estate agent use

Not mandatory, but helpful 

Real estate agent fees in South Africa (approx.)   Can start at 5%
 Land ownership for foreign nationals in South Africa

Yes, although this can be subject to conditions. 

 Deed registration

Yes 

Deed registration agency 

The Deeds Office 

Provisional agreement 

Can be used 

 Initial deposit

 It varies and can be between 10% and 20% of the home price in some cases.

 Property due diligence Always recommended 
 Mandatory representation by a lawyer in South Africa

Not mandatory, but highly advisable. 

 Important taxes for real estate transactions

The transfer tax, at up to 13% on the purchase of immovable property (when no VAT applies). 

 Reasons to buy property in South Africa

A stable investment, options to rent the purchased property. 

 Assistance for individual buyers

 Conveyancing, legal advice and assistance as needed.

 Assistance for corporate buyers Legal assistance with business and industrial real estate transactions, commercial property law specialist solutions, etc. 

The main steps to follow for those who buy property in South Africa are the following:

  1. Determine your budget: this is a key step, and one that will influence your final decision;
  2. Determine your financing options: find out your credit score, as well as your options for mortgaging;
  3. Research the available properties: this is done according to personal criteria, such as price, number of rooms, location, and many others;
  4. Verify the property: once you have chosen your ideal house, real estate due diligence is an essential step;
  5. Sign the documents: these will include the sale/purchase agreement, as well as any other documents needed to transfer the property to your name; the title deed transfer is done with the Deeds Office and our South African lawyers can give you more details;

If you are interested in buying a property as part of company formation in South Africa, to use as the registered office for your business, our lawyers will answer your questions concerning the steps needed in the case of legal persons.

Buying a property in South Africa as a foreigner is also possible through a power of attorney for this special purpose. In this case, a lawyer from our team will act on your behalf, and in your best interests, throughout the transaction process.

Buying a home is a natural step for many foreign nationals who are interested in immigration to South Africa. As they make their relocation a permanent one, home ownership is a valuable investment.

Property prices and trends in South Africa

New homeowners have different criteria according to which they choose their future properties, and their budget plays an important role in the final choice. Our team presents a set of interesting statistics below, as issued by the Government, via the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform:

  • the total number of deeds transferred in Cape Town in 2021 was 70,325;
  • in Johannesburg this number was lower, at 49,355 total deed transfers;
  • In Pretoria, there were 84,824 deed transfers in 2021.

If you are interested in purchasing a house in South Africa, please reach out to our lawyers for more information about the mandatory deed registration with the authorities.

Our law firm in South Africa assists local and foreign natural and legal persons interested in purchasing properties. Moreover, we are also able to provide legal guidance for real estate developers interested in knowing more about construction laws, and other legal aspects when developing their projects.

Contact us if you want to know more about how to buy property in South Africa as a resident or as a foreign national.