In this edition of Business Day Spotlight, we look at how South Africans can invest in property internationally using technology. 

Our host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by Scott Picken, founder and CEO of Wealth Migrate, to talk about the issues.

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Wealth Migrate is a real estate marketplace that allows investors to invest internationally in property opportunities.

Picken, who studied construction management about two decades ago, says he realised even back then that technology would disrupt the property industry. In 2004, Picken, together with a group of partners, started International Property Solutions, which helped people buy houses and apartments in SA, the UK, the US and Australia. 

Business Day Spotlight host Mudiwa Gavaza. Picture: DOROTHY KGOSI.
Business Day Spotlight host Mudiwa Gavaza. Picture: DOROTHY KGOSI.

After the 2008 global financial crisis, he realised there was an opportunity for people to buy up properties at discounted rates in places such as London, but a lack of education and access to financing prevented many from doing so. This is when Wealth Migrate was born. 

The platform uses technology to aggregate property deals and administer returns to users. Picken says they have members in 133 countries and have facilitated real estate investments of over $600m (about R9.2bn) on four continents with investors earning an average of 8% cash on cash in dollars for the past six years, and internal rates of return of 13% to 20%. 

Picken says it is important to diversify one’s investments across countries, assets, currencies and even partners when growing wealth. He believes property is a sound investment and a constant feature in the portfolios of wealthy individuals. 

He says investing in property overseas has many advantages over keeping all your property investments in SA, most notably it allows you to benefit from the rand’s fickle nature. You might not be able to go on an actual buying trip at the moment, but you still need to pack a virtual case before you begin your investment journey.

The discussion also touches on global property trends; the background and history of Wealth Migrate; funds versus stokvels versus Wealth Migrate’s model; trends during the lockdown; the size and scope of the industry at the moment; and an outlook for the sector.

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 Business Day Spotlight is a MultimediaLIVE production.


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