Despite the pandemic, African interest in property abroad did not drop in 2020. Conversely, it grew by a quarter, reports overseas property brokerage after analyzing data based on around 1,000 inquiries from African customers over the last two years. Countries that were the most interested in foreign property and left most requests are South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt. Greece became the most popular location to buy residential property abroad during the pandemic.
The Growing Predilection for Greece and Germany
As for chosen locations, Tranio's clients from Africa looked for properties in Greece, Germany, Italy, Spain, the US, and Canada, among other countries. Moderate prices more likely explain African predilection for Greece's real estate compared to other European real estate markets, growth potential, and high rental yields that Greek property offers, as well as the Golden Visa program. Greek visa program allows foreigners to obtain a residence permit by purchasing real estate. Greece's residence by investment program is the cheapest compared to similar European programs as it requires investors to buy property worth a total value of at least 250,000 Euros.
Germany is the second most popular location among buyers from Africa. In 2020 African interest in the German real estate market almost doubled compared with 2019. Germany has one of the strongest economies in the EU and a developed real estate market. As PwC reports German cities are now among the most stable real estate markets in Europe, with Berlin leading the PwC's rating of cities with the most investment potential.
The Italian government recently cut in half the requirements for a residence by investment permit. Although Italy recognizes investments only in an Italian start-up or in a local company, such easing of conditions for residence permits could stimulate additional interest in Italian real estate.
Spanish real estate is attractive to those who are ready to invest over 500,000 Euros to get a European residency through its Golden Visa program. Canada and the US have always been dream destinations for many nationalities wishing to immigrate.
In 2020, requests from South African residents comprised one-third of all the African requests about overseas property at Tranio, growing by 10% from 2019. If we compare them to Google queries, we will see that South African residents searched most often for permanent residency in Australia, Canada, and South Africa itself. The last query may be attributed to people who already live in South Africa on the grounds of work, marriage, or tourism and would like to know more about the path to becoming citizens of the country. Interest in Australia and Canada may be explained by their immigration programs that allow foreign nationals to naturalize in the countries legally. Similarly, the most searched countries for immigration are Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
Lately, the World Bank announced that African economies survived the economic crisis induced by the coronavirus pandemic more successfully than could be expected. As Deloitte report's South Africa's economy is expected to rebound in 2021 and 2022 after the dire impact of COVID-19. The sharp contraction in 2020, due to enforced shutdowns and the resulting lack of economic activity, resulted in a high expected growth rate of 3.3% in 2021 due, in part, to base effects.
Canada is a Nigerian and Egyptian top-searched Immigration Destination
The second most active investors come from Nigeria: they have left one-fifth of all the requests for foreign property in 2020 coming from Africa. The third most active buyer came from Egypt.
Google queries show that Nigerians are most interested in American real estate, apartments in Dubai, and houses for sale on Qatar's Banana Island, as well as in Canada and London. What is more, Nigerian residents most often look for permanent residency in Canada and Australia and ways to immigrate to Canada, UK, and New Zealand.
Egyptians are most interested in immigration to Canada, similar to other African residents. The most searched immigration destinations for Egyptians are Canada, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, and the US. Likewise, Google users from Egypt searched most for Canadian, Egyptian, and German citizenship, as well as for permanent residency in Canada.
Ghana and Kenya round out the top 5. A noteworthy detail is that 2021 is the peak year for both countries' GDP, and although they are not in the top-5 African countries where this figure is the highest, it may indicate that countries' economies are on the rise.