Hot topics in the Eswatini property market explained
Category Expert Insight
With significant activity in all areas of the commercial property sector in Eswatini and continued high levels of activity and trade in Matsapha Industrial site, the uncertainty regarding foreign ownership laws in The Kingdom has moved to the foreground.
Seeff spoke to the Registrar of Deeds in Eswatini, Mr Thabiso Mabandla Masina, to provide clarity on foreign ownership laws, amongst others.
Even though non-citizens or companies majority owned by non-citizens cannot own residential property in Eswatini, this does not bar non-citizens from acquiring registered long term leases ranging from 10 to 99 years over residential property.
Mr Masina adds that this is an avenue that some non-citizens are actively becoming alive to and are using to get into the residential property market in Eswatini.
"Save for the right of ownership, leaseholds offer all the other freehold benefits such as mortgaging, subleasing, cession and/or alienation".
Commercial Property & Agricultural land
With regard to commercial property, Eswatini continues to attract investment from inside and outside the country's borders, especially along the Mbabane Manzini Corridor.
Anthony McGuire, Seeff's Licensee in Eswatini, says there is significant appetite for this type of property within The Kingdom - even when compared to larger economies in Africa.
"The demand for commercial property is largely fuelled by nationwide infrastructural developments, good returns and improved confidence in Eswatini as a whole.
When priced correctly, commercial property in Eswatini is snapped up quickly regardless of the transaction amount".
Mr Masina says according to the constitution, an existing or new legitimate business undertaking owned by a non-citizen or a company majority owned by non-citizens can purchase property and register it in its name provided that "land is a significant factor or base" of that business.
"Foreigners are allowed to purchase commercial and/or agricultural property provided there is proof that the letter and spirit of the section 211(5) of the constitution will be complied with within a stated reasonable time - especially where the property is vacant".
McGuire says while the average residential property in Eswatini is typically priced higher when compared even with exclusive suburbs such as Sandton in South Africa, this is mainly due to the absence of a functional competitive sectional title market.
"Developers are anxiously awaiting the introduction of sectional title. Not only will this unleash opportunity in the Kingdom, but most importantly it will also allow home ownership to those for whom owning a home seemed impossible in the past".
Mr Masina says with regard to sectional title, all necessary amendments have been effected on the Act itself and the Sectional Titles (Amendment) Act was passed in February 2018.
"The major hurdle that needs to be overcome is the promulgation of the Sectional Titles Regulations. The Sectional Titles Board concluded drafting the same early this year and it was vetted and approved by the office of the Attorney General at the end of May 2019.
Cabinet has also since approved the Sectional Title Regulations; as such they should be submitted to Parliament in short order.
Parliamentary processes conceivably include public consultations, so it is difficult to provide an accurate time line for these regulations to pass into law, but we are hoping it will be towards the end of this year".
McGuire says there has been demand from foreign entities looking to set up sizeable operations in Matsapha Industrial site, but they are struggling to find suitable properties to suit their requirements and he requests land owners with properties of 5000 sqm and above to make contact with Seeff.
"Ezulwini remains a hive of activity from a residential and commercial perspective. Large corporates and the like are grabbing the remaining tracts of land available, specifically road frontage, which has seen a spike in land prices over recent months.
Speculators continue to hold on to and grab as much land as possible due to the upcoming development of the ICC,5 star hotel, referral clinic, and numerous corporate headquarters due to set up shop over the next few years as they anticipate further capital growth as supply dwindles and the area continues to improve.
Planned development in Ezuwini has already seen an effect on market sentiment and appetite for office development in Mbabane, as developers predict an oversupply in years to come as headquarters relocate and new office space and office parks are made available to the market.
We continue to have a high demand for rental property country-wide but struggle with well-priced quality housing.
Much of the rental stock in the country is of a poor build and finish; however landlords continue to enjoy relatively high rentals due to a lack of options in the market. There is certainly opportunity for developers in this space country wide but especially along the Mbabane Manzini corridor".
Golf and Lifestyle Estates attractive investment opportunities
Lifestyle estates such as Nkonyeni Golf estate continue to be in demand.
Inyatsi's Nkonyeni Lifestyle Estate does not only offer plot and plan options at attractive prices, but also ensures a stress-free building process to prospective buyers.
Nkonyeni offers a number of activities to residents and visitors including a golfer's paradise boasting a magnificent 18 hole golf course designed by Phil Jacobs, a restaurant, beautiful chalet lodges for guests, spa treatments, golf cart hire, a putt-putt course, game drives, tennis courts, squash courts and a swimming pool with a club house amongst others.
A supermarket and filling station are also within close proximity.
With bushveld plots ranging from a generous 1742m² to a massive 7393m², the Inyatsi Nkonyeni Lifestyle Estate caters for all tastes and budgets.
Owned by the Inyatsi Group, the properties are sold on plot and plan basis with a choice of plans varying from two bedroom to four bedroom homes designed in a modern eco-friendly fashion made to fuse with the bushveld environment and built for a lifetime by the professionals in construction.
Prospective buyers are spoiled for choice and can choose between 126 plots ranging in size from 1742m² to 7393m² located on the southern end of the Nkonyeni Golf Estate.
The Inyatsi Nkonyeni Lifestyle Estate is separate from the existing Nkonyeni Residential Golf Estate, offering flexibility and options in land use, plot sizes and building plans to suit personal preference and budget.
Plots sell from E385,000 with Turnkey home options selling at E2,150,000.
Seeff is also involved with selling of sites at the Mbuluzi Game Reserve Development, as well as Dombeya Wildlife Estate.
Each of these developments has a unique offering for the discerning wildlife and bush enthusiast.
Dombeya is a residential free hold title deed development in the Mafutseni area where residents typically would buy a 2 ha property inside the game reserve (there are limited sites available priced from E1.1m ).
Mbuluzi Game Reserve is a share block scheme in the Simunye area. At Mbuluzi Game reserve Seeff has one site available at E165,000.00 as well as the last lodge of three on the market, available for E1.3m.
Pic 1: This four bedroom and four bathroom home in Sidvokodvo is listed for R4 500 000.
Pic 2: This prime commercial building in Matsapha Industrial Site is listed for R12 million.
Visit https://www.seeff.com/branches/eswatini/5782/ for more information.
Author: Tanya Van Buuren Botma