Real estate in Africa continues to drive growth potential

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Standard Bank's Head of Real Estate Finance (Rest of Africa), Gerhard Zeelie said demand for high-quality retail, office and residential space continue to outstrip supply in a number of markets across Africa Standard Bank's Head of Real Estate Finance (Rest of Africa), Gerhard Zeelie said demand for high-quality retail, office and residential space continue to outstrip supply in a number of markets across Africa

A growing consumer middle-class, powered by rapid urbanisation and shifting demographic trends is driving both property demand and growth opportunities in the real estate industry across the African continent.

“Increasingly, both foreign and local investors are seeing the growth potential of Africa, spurred by rising consumer spending of Africa’s developing middle class”, said Gerhard Zeelie, Head of Real Estate Finance (Rest of Africa) for Standard Bank. “Economic growth and ongoing investments in infrastructure are opening up previously inaccessible markets.”

Some of the key African countries that are realising opportunities for real estate investment include Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia. Although lower commodity prices had impacted on growth forecasts for some of these countries, there is still a shortage of quality real estate assets, he said.

However, real estate investments in African markets are not without risk, Mr Zeelie warned. Among which were the impact of unpredictable regulatory changes, complex legal regimes, volatile local currencies, and limitations on investment timeframes and exit strategies.

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