While many South African home buyers turn to the internet as their first, initial port of call when researching the market for a new home, for overseas purchasers it's an obvious means of exploring the residential property market in a foreign country.

"While the internet can never replace the importance of the personal interaction between an agent and client in concluding a real estate transaction, the internet has revolutionised the property industry by providing instant access to not only a huge variety of properties on offer, but also the myriad of property related information that assists consumers in their buying decision. It also stands to reason that this is a highly convenient, quick and accessible way for international buyers to research the property market in another country, before embarking on a purchase," says Dr Andrew Golding, CE of the Pam Golding Property (PGP) group.
Over the past seven months to end July 2009, PGP sold property to overseas buyers, including expatriates, with an average selling price of just over R3,5-million and to a total value of R440-million – of which 55% originated via enquiries received via the company's web site.
Currently PGP, which is internationally recognised as a reputable brand and also has an association with UK global property giant, Savills, sees close to 100 000 unique visitors on its website each month from 176 countries around the world – with three million pages viewed every month. Of these visitors 36% are new to the site each month. During the month of July 2009 the most overseas enquiries received via the PGP website were from the UK, USA, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Mauritius, Canada, France and the United Arab Emirates.
Comments Anthony Stroebel, group marketing director for PGP: "Our website, which showcases approximately 35 000 properties at any one time, has recently been enhanced with a number of new features to create a more user-friendly resource for property seekers. In addition to various search options these include quick-links on the home page to find information faster, new province and area pages which provide useful information and help buyers find suitable areas for their requirements and an updated property outlook providing comment on the current status of the property market in South Africa. In essence, we strive to ensure that our clients and the market at large are empowered to make sound property decisions."
Says Cheridan Inglis, the group's new media manager: "Our online marketing-spend and activities reach over 3,3-million people worldwide every month. Evidence of the huge reach of our website is that according to research statistics provided on www.alexa.com, the PGP site far exceeds its competitors in regard to global Internet search visits. Over 50 000 pages on our web site are indexed by Google and therefore searched by Google visitors. These naturally include all the many different variations of searches one can envisage in terms of accessing information regarding the 36 000 plus properties marketed by PGP at any time."