The old adage "safe as houses" has a somewhat hollow ring these days. Ask software engineer Craig Engelbrecht, who has had to postpone his move to the UK because he’s struggling to sell his five-bedroom abode in Bryanston. The house, built in the late 1980s on a sprawling 3,500m² stand, has been on the market for six months. The asking price of R7.2m has been dropped twice — initially to R6.5m and more recently to R5.8m. That’s 12% less than Engelbrecht paid for the property in mid-2014. But still no takers. Elsewhere in Johannesburg, in Craighall, a super-luxury pile that fetched R21m in 2015 came back onto the market in 2016 at R19m. The house was eventually resold last year by Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, but for only R12.75m. Cape Town-based estate agents cite similar examples of sellers battling to offload their properties, particularly at the higher end of the market where demand has cooled notably after a five-year bull run. The Seeff Property Group reports that...

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