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Is it still profitable to invest in rental property in South Africa?

06.01.23 08:30 AM By Jaco

Is it still profitable to invest in rental property in South Africa?

Investing in rental property can still be profitable in South Africa, even though interest rates are rising and expropriation without compensation has been passed in parliament. Here are a few reasons why:

  • High demand for rental properties: The demand for rental properties in South Africa is high, especially in urban areas where there is a shortage of housing. This can translate into steady rental income for property owners.
  • Potential for capital appreciation: While the value of real estate can fluctuate, over the long term, property values tend to increase. This means that even if you have to pay higher interest rates on your mortgage, you may still see an overall increase in the value of your property.
  • Tax benefits: Owning rental property can provide a number of tax benefits. For example, you can deduct expenses such as mortgage interest, property taxes, and maintenance costs from your taxable income.
  • Diversification: Investing in rental property can be a way to diversify your investment portfolio. This can help to reduce risk and provide a stable source of income.
  • Expropriation without compensation: While the passing of the expropriation without compensation bill has raised concerns among property owners, it is important to note that the bill has not yet been signed into law and is currently being challenged in court. Additionally, the government has indicated that the bill will not apply to occupied homes or small businesses.
  • High Good standing Ratios: We have seen relatively high levels of rental good standing throughout the pandemic, with a reductions in 2020, but a definite recovery thereafter, as can be seen in the data below from TPN

Overall, investing in rental property can still be a profitable venture in South Africa, despite the challenges of rising interest rates and expropriation without compensation. It is important to carefully consider your investment strategy and consult with a financial professional before making any decisions.

Running the numbers on a potential rental property in South Africa is thus extremely important because it helps you to determine whether the property is likely to be a profitable investment. By carefully reviewing the financials of a rental property, you can get a sense of the potential rental income you can expect to receive and the expenses you will incur as a property owner. This will help you to determine whether the property has the potential to generate a positive cash flow and provide a good return on investment.

There are a number of factors to consider when running the numbers on a rental property, including the purchase price of the property, the potential rental income, operating expenses such as property taxes and maintenance costs, and financing costs such as mortgage interest and fees. By carefully considering these factors, you can get a better understanding of the financial performance of the property and whether it is a good fit for your investment goals.

In addition to helping you make informed investment decisions, running the numbers on a rental property can also help you to set realistic rental rates, create a budget for the property, and develop a long-term investment plan. Overall, running the numbers is an essential step in the process of investing in rental property in South Africa.

What is the expected gross profit percentage for rental property?

It is difficult to provide a typical gross profit percentage for rental properties in South Africa, as there are many factors that can affect the profitability of a rental property. Some of these factors include the location of the property, the condition of the property, the rental rate, and the expenses associated with owning and maintaining the property.

That being said, as a rough estimate, gross profit margins for rental properties in South Africa may range from around 5-20%. This means that for every rand of rental income received, the owner may be able to keep 5-20 cents as profit after subtracting operating expenses such as property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs.

It is important to keep in mind that these figures are just estimates and may vary depending on the specific property and market conditions. It is always a good idea to carefully review the financials of a rental property and consult with a financial professional before making an investment.

Here are a few more points to consider when it comes to investing in rental property in South Africa:
  • Location: As with any real estate investment, location is an important factor to consider. Properties in desirable areas with strong rental demand tend to have a higher potential for profitability.
  • Property condition: It is important to invest in a property that is in good condition, as this can help to attract tenants and reduce maintenance costs. Consider investing in properties that are relatively new or have been well-maintained.
  • Rental income: Before investing in a rental property, it is important to do your research and get a sense of the potential rental income you can expect to receive. This will help you to determine whether the property is likely to be a profitable investment.
  • Financing: Financing options for rental property investments in South Africa may include mortgage loans or investing with partners or investors. It is important to carefully consider the financing options available and choose the one that best meets your needs and goals.
  • Management: Owning a rental property can be time-consuming, especially if you have multiple properties or live far from the property. Consider whether you have the time and resources to manage the property yourself or whether it would be more practical to hire a property management company.
Overall, investing in rental property in South Africa can be a profitable venture, but it is important to do your due diligence and carefully consider all of the factors involved.

What is the best type of rental properties to invest in in South Africa? 

The best type of rental property to invest in South Africa will depend on a number of factors, including your investment goals, budget, and risk tolerance. Here are a few types of rental properties that you may want to consider:
  • Single-family homes: Single-family homes can be a good choice for investors who want to own a standalone property and have more control over the rental process. These properties may appeal to families and professionals, and can be found in a variety of locations and price ranges.
  • Townhouses and apartments: Townhouses and apartments can be a good option for investors who want to own multiple units in a single building or complex. These properties may appeal to a wide range of tenants, including students, young professionals, and families.
  • Student housing: With a large number of universities and colleges located in South Africa, student housing can be a profitable rental property niche. These properties may be in high demand in areas with a large student population and may offer the potential for higher rental rates.
  • Vacation rentals: South Africa is a popular tourist destination, and vacation rentals can be a good investment for investors who want to capitalize on the tourism industry. Vacation rentals can include beachfront condos, mountain cabins, and city apartments.
Ultimately, the best type of rental property for you will depend on your specific goals and circumstances. It is a good idea to do your research and carefully consider the pros and cons of each type of rental property before making a decision.

Here is an interesting infographic from Lightsone:

What is the typical price range for rental property in South Africa?

The price range for rental properties in South Africa can vary significantly depending on the location and type of property. In general, prices may be higher in urban areas and lower in rural areas. Here is a rough breakdown of the typical price range for different types of rental properties in South Africa:
  • Single-family homes: Prices for single-family homes can range from around 500,000 to 2,000,000 ZAR or more, depending on the location and condition of the property.
  • Townhouses and apartments: Prices for townhouses and apartments may start at around 400,000 ZAR for a basic unit and go up to 1,500,000 ZAR or more for a luxury property.
  • Student housing: Prices for student housing may range from around 300,000 ZAR for a basic unit to 800,000 ZAR or more for a higher-end property.
  • Vacation rentals: Prices for vacation rentals can vary widely depending on the location and amenities of the property. Prices may range from around 250,000 ZAR for a basic vacation rental to over 1,000,000 ZAR for a luxury property.
It is important to keep in mind that these are just estimates and prices may vary depending on the specific property and market conditions. It is always a good idea to do your research and carefully consider the price of a rental property in relation to its potential for profitability before making an investment.

What is the typical rental escalation I can expect for residential rental property in South Africa?

Rental escalation is the increase in the rental rate for a property over time. The rate of rental escalation for residential rental property in South Africa can vary depending on a number of factors, including the location of the property, the demand for rental properties in the area, and the rate of inflation.

In general, rental escalation rates in South Africa may range from around 4-10% per year, although rates may be higher or lower depending on the specific property and market conditions. Some landlords may choose to increase the rental rate at a rate that is higher than the rate of inflation, while others may opt for a more modest increase.

It is important to keep in mind that rental escalation is not a guarantee, and the actual rate of increase may be lower or higher than the typical rate. It is always a good idea to carefully consider the rental escalation rate when setting the initial rental rate for a property and to review the rate regularly to ensure that it is still in line with market conditions.

With the current economic pressures, and the impact of COVID on the entire rental market, we have seen a significant drop in rental escalation, with figures being down significantly for almost 2 years. We are however, slowly returning to typical levels, but this has had a definitive impact on the rental returns you could expect.

The graphic below, by TPN, gives an overview by Province:





Jaco