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A decade in the making: R120m Gatsby on the Houghton Ridge

This special podcast is brought to you by the Chas Everitt Group.

Well, because of the long-term nature of the asset the property market is a great indicator of economic confidence especially at the top-end, where capital is discerning cowardly and especially for long-term investments in developing countries, rather scarce. But things are looking up in SA driven by a wave of optimism after the election of financially savvy Cyril Ramaphosa as its president. The national share price, the ZAR, has gained 20%. The mood around SA has improved so much that locals are calling it ‘Ramaphoria.’

During a recent visit to the city of Johannesburg I was shown around Gatsby. It’s a trophy home on the Houghton Ridge with a spectacular view over the world’s largest man-made forest that is Northern Johannesburg. This well-named residence would be the ideal setting for the great Scott Fitzgerald novel designed by the gifted super home specialist, Stephen Pellerade. The property is one of Johannesburg’s best, having taken him the best part of a decade to create.

My visit had a dual purpose. First, to take the BizNews community into a property most of them will never personally enter and also, to gauge whether the smart money is interested in SA. Here’s one of my hosts.

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Rory O’Hagan, I head up the Luxury Division within the Chas Everitt Group. We’re starting to see a major lift in the demand for ultra-luxury homes or super homes, (we call them), and specifically in Johannesburg, Alec. What I’m finding more and more is people that traditionally were a bit hesitant maybe. Moving to CT, moving around the country, and now saying, ‘there are issues in the other areas of the country. What about Johannesburg? Let me settle here. Let me not move as fast as I would have.’ We’ve seen a major lift. Obviously, with Ramaphosa and Rwanda having signed the prelude to the African Free Trade Agreement. There’s also this lift and sentiment. With Ramaphosa coming in – we’ve see a lift and sentiment.

O’Hagan, a former private banker moved into real estate some years back and now focuses at the very, top end. While he was showing me around Gatsby I asked, ‘what kind of person would buy a property like this?’

African buyers so, I’m talking about your Nigerians, your Angolans, we have a lot of requests from Africa. SA, in Johannesburg, you’ve got a lot of people that are business leaders, political leaders, that are buying up homes now that were also in abeyance, (so to speak), and the demand is international as well. We’re starting to see international demand because remembering Johannesburg is undervalued. Johannesburg is really undervalued compared to CT – we wrote an article about it in December to say that CT property, especially the seaboard, is playing into the international lot and not the local property space.

In Johannesburg, the home that we’re in, for example, is a home that would probably cost double, if not quadruple if it was in CT. There was a home I think sold for a record price of R290m two years ago. This home is at that level so, what I’m saying is Johannesburg versus CT – we’re starting to see an adjustment as well and a slight tapering-off on the demand in CT for luxury property, and in Johannesburg we’re starting to see a renewed demand.

Now, meet my other host, the head of London-based Pellerade’s SA operations.

It’s Ashleigh Williams Longueira, and I Head up the Pellerade Group.

I prompted her as a test for O’Hagan’s argument of the value proposition of this home, and then also, to get the back story about what goes into making such a spectacular property.

If this house was in CT, what Rory said now, it would be in the R290m – R300m bracket. What is it worth here, in Johannesburg?

Currently, what we’re saying is that it’s about R120m. Just in terms of the balustrading here, you’ve got solid, marble balustrading. I think this must be the only house in SA that has so much marble in it.

Where does it come from, the marble?

It comes from Egypt. We bought it in two containers. The floors and the actual balustrading were brought in. It’s just over 2 000 square metres of tiles that we brought in. Along with the solid marble balustrading, which you don’t see it in any home today.

We’re standing here, at the balustrading, looking out on Johannesburg or the Northern part of Johannesburg – it’s a spectacular view. What is this part of the city called, where we are now?

This is the Houghton Ridge so, we’re basically, overlooking most of Johannesburg. You can really just get a wide scape of the view and the night view is absolutely amazing. Jacaranda season is even better, and the reason we actually terraced it, being on the ridge, we terraced the garden and we had to bring in so much soil. That bottom wall is 10 metres high, which we built, and we created all these different terraces. That sculpture – that’s the centrepiece of the garden, that Stephen sourced from Buenos Aires. It had to come in a 40 container. We had to have three cranes to get it down there while we were building so, it had to go and sit down there for about a year-and-a-half to two years before we actually finished building that and got it in.

I’ve seen that. I’m sure that’s the Rape of the Sabines outside the Uffizi in Florence.

Yes.

Is it the same? It looks exactly the same size?

Yes, it is so, it’s a replica of that, which Stephen found and brought it in, and we had to actually had to cut off her arm to get her to fit in the container.

Geez, that’s amazing.

As we’re looking out here you can see incredible forests. I think that must be the Houghton Golf Course.

Yes, it is.

Of course, that’s after the garden. What was this house like because clearly that’s what you do? You find great sites, good houses, upscale them and make them super-homes.

Yes, so, this was basically, an unusable space because it was at such a huge angle. So, you couldn’t actually use this space originally, when we started designing.

So, a nice view but not a whole lot of garden?

Not a garden so that’s when we started to actually build up all of these walls and creating different terraces and it was taken from a palace in Russia, where we got the idea of having all of these different terraces that you could actually have a garden that you can use and not just a slope.

A statue from Buenos Aires, a garden replicating a Russian palace. Well, the international flavour of this home stretches perhaps to the potential new owner.

Our buyer can be African, you asked me the question earlier, but our buyer could also be… There’s a lot of people from the East that are coming to SA and investing heavily. You look at the Chinese and what they’re doing out near Modderfontein, and the Indian community. There’s a massive spread of potential buyers, and it could be Russian. The Russians are investing as well.

You were previously a private banker and have travelled all over the world. What Ashleigh said a bit earlier, R120m, that’s about $10m.

Correct.

Just put it into context, what do you get for $10m elsewhere in the world relative to this house?

Well, for example, it’s a decent apartment in New York, and if you started to go into the UK, as you know, in London you’re paying £4m – £6m or I think it’s about £8m, if we work that back into Pounds as well. You don’t get anything close to this.

This is like a palace.

It is like a palace. That’s exactly what it is.

Well, the front doors are palace doors. Stephen went to Argentina and he found them, and they were actually palace doors that he then imported, and we basically installed them in a glass frame but those are actually palace doors.

How big are those doors?

They’re just over 3 metres – I think they’re about 3.6 metres high and they’re about 1.2 wide, double door so, framed in a real glass structure. Lots of steel underneath to support the doors so, yes, when you talk about palace – there we go, you’ve got palace doors.

Ashleigh, am I right, because I remember the design is based on the Peterhof Palace, and the gardens as well?

Yes.

So, correct, Alec, I think the word ‘palace’ would describe this place appropriately.

Yes.

How big is it? How much space do you have under roof?

So, it’s 2 400 under roof, and it is broken up into sections so, the main house has obviously, got a certain amount, and then you’ve got the business-wing, which is what we try to create for super-homes. People are wanting to do business from work and have a boardroom and have separate living areas that they could get people to come in and stay and not be part of their home. So, we’ve actually got a whole separate wing, which is catered for business.

But that’s separate from the house.

That’s separate from the house and then obviously, you’ve got your main house so, you don’t have to do all your business and all of that in the main house. You’ve got an actual wing to do that in.

So, I’m the Russian oligarch. This reminds me of a palace that I know back home. I have $10m, which is small change for me. I buy myself my palace in Johannesburg and when I bring in business partners, perhaps from other part of the world there’s this whole, separate building on the property that they can live in. We can have our meetings in, etc., I can see now or I’m starting to get an idea of the kind of person who would be buying this house.

It could be, another thing, Alec, just some interesting stats. Forbes have looked at the ‘African Rich’ list and I think, as Dollar billionaires, I think that we’re up to 23 from 21, and the combined totally is $75.4bn in net asset value. Those are also the kind of people that $10m is small chump change for that type of market and buyer, and running a business in the Manhattan of Africa, which I call Johannesburg. I keep saying, we are the Manhattan of Africa. Running a business from a home like this adds to your point. You’ve got a conference facility, you can have your dignitaries come and stay with you here in huge, grand suites that are separate to the house. Every element has been taken into account in thinking about that sort of people as well so, Russian or African – am I right, Ash?

Yes, you are right.

What about an embassy? Surely, it’s got the scale to be something like that – an embassy or a consulate, given that Johannesburg is the commercial capital. Have you guys thought about that? Did you think about that when you were building it or was it specifically for a family?

I think it was when we originally designed it, we built it as a proper super-home. We’ve noticed in Johannesburg and with the clientele that Pellerade deal with, is the super-homes have become something that people are wanting. They’re wanting to entertain at home. They feel safer at home. They’ve got their own security at home. We’ve got 16 cameras here so, it really overlooks the whole property. You’ve got 22 TVs, which you can view all the cameras on.

Remotely as well?

Remotely as well so, if you go away you can control your whole home from your phone and what’s nice is the spaces are so luxurious that you can throw a party here. You can entertain here. We find that that’s becoming more and more popular in Johannesburg. People are not wanting to go out and things like that, and it’s the real luxurious thing about having this, is entertaining at home and people are coming into your home and seeing the ‘wow-ness,’ and seeing how amazing it looks. So, it’s more of a family-business person that would probably look at this, wanting that real luxurious but also, a pack-up if they need to go overseas and travel, then they can lock it up and they can view from anywhere.

Security – you did mention all these cameras, etc., how important is that in a place like Johannesburg?

You need the cameras and you need the security. We all kind of say ‘oh, maybe we don’t,’ but it’s always good to have that kind of security. What’s nice about the house is it’s so set-back from the road. You can’t really see it when you drive past. You don’t get how amazing this is because it’s quite a long property so, it’s staggered over the whole property, and you don’t see it from the road. So, nobody knows what’s behind the gates so, you can’t view it, but it’s good to have all that security being around us. We don’t really go into all the specifics but good security is needed anywhere in Johannesburg – I think it’s a known.

So, is this a smart-home as well, presumably?

Yes, it is a smart-home so, basically it is fully home automated. You’ve also, got your sound throughout the whole house so, when you are having a function you can put the music on and the music plays throughout. When you go away, you can set the house to ‘away mode’ and it turns on lights automatically so that it looks like someone is living here. That’s all what’s great about having a smart-home, and you can, when you go to bed, put the alarm on and the house does its thing.

As you can hear, I’m really getting into this now and it’s not often that you see how the super-rich live. As O’Hagan explains, those buying in this bracket need not even indulge in retail therapy.

The house is being offered fully-furnished because I think if we look around us there’s so many bespoke elements to it. For someone to come and recreate this would be… I mean, this is art in itself. Every element of this home is art, as we look around us.

Well, looking up there it’s almost like you expect Romeo and Juliet. Is that a statue of Juliet that we’re seeing?

The statues in this house are amazing. They’ve been brought in from all over the world. Just in the ‘grand room’ we can basically see three statues. We’ve got the lady standing here, from the balcony, we’ve got the bronze sculpture with the three dolphins and the mermaid, and then outside we’ve got the marble angel. Basically, you can see again marble, bronze – marble. There’s so many textures to it and in the whole house there’s just sculptures everywhere – such nice presence.

Is this what your clients are now talking about, when I say your clients, Pellerade deals in the super luxury home market. Is this what they like?

That’s exactly it. It’s got to be something that’s different. They don’t want what the house, two houses down have – it’s got to be real custom to them. Just in the way of, we’ve got these two beautiful domes here with the sky scenes. That’s an artist, Dean Kelly that when we were busy with the ceilings, he came in and spent nights busy painting it by hand, and he basically took the artwork that’s in the front, in the entrance, the two massive paintings, which are 5 metres by 3 metres, and he hand painted them. So, in essence, getting the people in and creating your own look and feel for the home is important and that it’s not duplicated to another house so that it’s all different. These sculptors are something that I can’t get another one of them. That’s the sculpture I found and that’s what we use. We can’t go and find another sculpture and replica that and put it into someone else’s home because then that home becomes not unique. This is unique on its own level. What’s here – you don’t see in other houses.

How long did it take you to put all of this together?

Gosh, that’s a tough question because these terraces took us a few years.

A few years?

Yes, a few years so, in essence I think the terraces was about 3 years that we spent. It was tons and tons of soil. When they were doing the Gautrain the soil that was coming out of their tunnels that they were digging for the Gautrain came here because we needed so much soil.

Am I right that’s it’s 30 000 tons?

I think it is 30 000 tons of soil that we brought in. We had cranes and everything hovering on the edge. When you just sit there and you’re like ‘oh, my gosh, isn’t that going to go down the hill?’ But in essence, it probably took us a good 6 to 7 years to actually do this whole house.

And Rory spoke about the furniture, which is incredible. When you see it, you can see everything? It’s almost like the attention to detail is extreme. How long did it take to source all of that? You spoke of the Rape of the Sabines in the garden there, coming from Argentina, and another Argentinian thing being the palace doors at the front. But I guess there’s some other unique pieces here too.

So, if we all know Stephen. He loves to travel and when he goes on his travels he goes and he finds things. For about 10 years I think he collected stuff. We had garages and garages of furniture, statues, doors, and all of that so, it was literally, I would say, over a 10-year period that he collected items that were unique.

And they’re here, in this home?

And they’re in this home.

Not elsewhere?

No.

Why here? Why did he put it into here? Is this the flagship?

It is the flagship but essentially, what it was is when we originally started doing this design. It took us maybe 7-years to build but we must also understand it took us about 2-years to do the design and what we wanted to achieve here. So, in essence, you can work on between 7 – 10 years that we actually worked on the whole house. Bringing in sculptures and statues and that obviously, when you start the design you’re starting to think, ‘oh, right, we need some huge masterpiece there.’ In his mind, when he goes on his travels, he’s going to be looking for a statue and he’s going to be like, ‘right, that’s the statue that’s going to go in the garden.’ When you drive in you’ve got another statue that was also from Buenos Aires that he found there that we incorporated them to other statues. So, all of these items that he found is purely on a travel, looking and knowing that in his mind the design of the house requires the following. I know when we were almost finished, the sculpture there, the marble sculpture as you walk out – that wasn’t there. When we started to actually feel this space we sort of looked out and we kind of went, ‘we need something there.’ Steve is like, ‘yea, okay, I’m going to go on my travels.’ Off he went to France that year and he saw that and he was like, ‘that’s it – that’s going to go there.’

My favourite room in this whole house, and I’ve been looking around, is the library. Can we just go there and you can just tell us a little more about that?

The library, yes.

While we’re going there, Alec, can I add something? You asked me about relative pricing. I was just looking up, and you were talking about Stephen accumulating and creating over many-many years. The Versailles House in Windermere, Florida is on the market for $100m, and it’s quite interesting that they’ve done a similar thing. They’ve got warehouses of furniture that they’ve accumulated over many years. So, in my mind, it’s not about the absolute price of the house – it’s about what else it has to offer, over and above, and it’s the thought, and it’s the time, and it’s the effort that’s gone into it. It’s actually not replaceable at this price so, I think that that’s quite important. Don’t you agree, Ash?

Yes, it is.

For someone to go and recreate this would take another 6 to 10 years to get it right.

Yes, it would take. I’ve got a number of homes that we’re still busy with. There’s one in Sandhurst that we’ve now been busy for 5-years. It’s not something that happens in a year. They take a few years. A super-home is over 2 000 squares now, a proper super-home.

Yes.

And they go anything up to 6 000 so, with those kinds of homes it takes years.

Just for clarity, Ashleigh was talking about the property in square metres and not feet. I got pretty absorbed in a library to die for.

We were trying to achieve that this would probably be where the man of the house would end up doing a lot of his every-day work. So, it was more of a masculine feel. We also felt like the sofa area would be quite nice. Cigars, cognacs that kind of feel, is where you would sort of come, have a little chat with some businessmen.

Or the President, it’s very presidential this.

Yes, so we basically, we tried to make it more of a masculine feel. We have seen a turn in time at the moment, where the ladies are wanting now to have their study brought into it. But I sit here some days and I love this feel. For me, it really feels quite grand when I’m sitting here working so, for me, I love it.

Ash, can I mention? So, Alec, one thing we haven’t discussed is that, and I think I began the interview by explaining that the market has pretty tumultuous over the last couple of years, and now I think we have serious buyers coming out of the woodwork. Ash, you remember last year we had a buyer come through the house, and it was off the market for a while so that’s the reason that’s it kind of been lifted.

Why was it off the market?

Well, we were waiting for the buyer to perform.

Okay, I thought maybe you were waiting for Zuma to leave.

Maybe, but why I’m telling you the story is it’s very interesting because when we did the paperwork for the property the buyer, being a gentleman, was adamant that he came and sat in this wingback chairs and sat and embraced the home. This room, for him, was all embracing so, it’s just quite interesting that this room is designed to be plush and where deals can be done as well, or a cigar smoked or whatever. It’s one of those ‘club-typed’ rooms and it was just interesting that he was drawn to this room.

We spent some time going from one room to the next. It gave me a feel for the way that the 1% of the 1% actually live. An unexpected feature though was how the super-rich are also mindful about running costs.

The house is on Municipal gas so, we’ve got gas geysers, gas stove, gas fireplaces so, it’s a lot economically friendly. As well as we’ve obviously got our bore hole, which we run completely off the grid so, we don’t use Municipal water. We’ve got our bore hole, which feeds straight into the house. Then obviously, we’ve got our generator so, in these super-homes we know that the actual cost of the house, the running cost, is quite high so, we’ve tried to also bring in elements to try and help that, which also helps with the house.

Hugely, and you know it’s amazing, Alec, one thing I find, and just going back to the type of buyer. They’re very cost conscious, believe it or not.

So, you don’t mind making the capital investment but don’t kill me by the monthly?

Not at all, but don’t make me throw away money on monthly costs.

Yes.

I remember with Steve, we did an exercise around the actual costs of running a home like this and it’s actually surprisingly low, compared to, let’s say – we sell a lot of properties in the Sandhurst, Hyde Park type area. It’s significantly less than those homes so, it’s just quite interesting – and it’s interesting that Ashleigh talks about cost containment in the way the home has been designed. I think it is a very important aspect of selling a home like this.

What about the resale value? How would you look at it because at $120m in Johannesburg at the moment, and you’ve explained that Johannesburg and CT’s property markets are very different – for what you see here there’s nobody from most parts of the world will be able to say, it isn’t great value. But will it always be great value? What’s going to happen to resales here?

Okay, and it’s very interesting because the people that we’ve had interested in this home are not interested in the home based on a resale value. It’s a legacy property and it’s quite interesting because the manor homes in the UK, they’re designed, and built, and it’s generational. A home like this, honestly, in my belief, is being bought generationally so that becomes a moot point if someone is going to buy it to hand down through the generations. However, there are no homes that I can think of, off the top of my head that are at this level in Johannesburg. It is a trophy property and, Alec, there will always be a demand for a trophy property. With the renewed sentiment in this country, and I believe it’s going to get better even, people want to invest, be it a Russian oligarch you talked about earlier, or an African entrepreneur or an African politician or whatever our buyer is, someone from the East.

Money becomes relatively irrelevant. They want value but at this level so, I often say, a home like this is like a Picasso. It’s willing buy or willing seller. You can’t walk around and say, ‘it’s 2 400 square metres under roof – therefore the value of the property is X.’ It’s a home that has an intrinsic value because Pellerade designed it and put so much into the house over many years. That you can’t tangibly put a value to. You are buying an art piece here, you’re not buying a home. You’re buying a lifestyle – you’re not buying a home. I think it’s an important element for anybody wanting to resell.

To put a price on a resell – who knows, but property as an asset class has done well over the years and if you look – inflation itself will take this. It’s irreplaceable at a $120m as we stand so, if someone wanted to buy a piece of land and get Pellerade to rebuild this house. I very much doubt we could do it at under $120m.

Just for argument sake, because businessmen like to know, particularly top businessmen, they like to know that they’re getting a value proposition. If you just had this starting off at a stand – what would the stand here be worth, if you could buy a stand of this size in this position?

What are the prices going for now, at the moment?

Well, on Houghton Ridge firstly, stands don’t become available very easily at all.

So, you’d have to buy an old house and knock it down?

Definitely.

Yes.

And I go back to the legacy property story so, a lot of these properties people just don’t turn. If you were to find a stand your input cost, in my opinion, would probably be R20m – R25m.

As a starter?

As a starting point.

That’s before you bring all the Gautrain soil.

The soil, and 10 years of work, and all the marble.

It’s about R30 000 a square to probably build – R30 000 a square, at this level.

Yes.

Yes, at this level. You can work between R30 000 to R35 000 with all the marble and everything that we imported. I think we got to about R32 000 a square and that’s what currently it’s looking at.

Ash, your point is valid because R30 000 a square today, by the time you finish the house it’s probably more like R50 000 a square so, there we start to, if you do the maths, you’re talking about a 2 400 square meter home. The house alone, by the time it’s completed in 5-years, once you’ve done the landscaping. To try and source 30 000 tons of soil just to do the garden – you’ve got to home they’re building more Gautrains. A lot of the stuff is not freely available, Alec, so that’s why I’m saying, in my opinion, by the time you’ve finished in 5-years’ time, this is probably a R250m home to build.

Also, do you want to spend 5-years’ building a super-home?

And that’s if you’re lucky, if it’s 5-years.

A lot of people are now moving away from building and they’re more trying to find houses that they can move into. What’s great about this home and what we’ll see when it does sell is that they will move in here with their clothes and that’s it. The house is fully equipped with everything. All the furniture – if you look at the cupboards they’ve already got all the object d’art and everything. So, it’s like a painting this, it tells a story so, when they do move in they will be moving in with just their bags.

Okay, so we get the picture now. Acquiring a property like this requires deep pockets and it caters to pretty much everything that those who operate in this rarefied could desire. Given SA’s recent history, the value right now appears to be extraordinary. So, how does someone like O’Hagan get to tell his potential market, the very few with lots of money and very deep pockets how the house is actually on the market in the first place?

We’ve got a lot of people interested in the house right now, Alec, as we stand. At this level it’s often a structured deal, if that makes any sense.

No, it doesn’t. Tell me.

Okay so, what I mean by a structured deal is even the Dollar billionaires don’t have $100m or $200m in a money market account somewhere so, whoever buys this house, in all likelihood, will have to unlock investments or whatever it is because anyone that’s astute is not going to have $200m on money market, as an example, or cash or near cash. So, what we’re finding is that the buyers that are interested are busy with transactions or whatever it is. So, we have got people that we’re working on. We’re going to officially re-launch the house onto the market probably in the next 2 weeks.

Yes.

So, that would make it mid-April?

Yes, but this is a home that is a specific type of market.

So, you’re not putting it in newspapers and saying, ‘come on a show day and see what a super-home looks like?’

No, not at all. It’s what I call… This home you do not sell with spray and pray so, I’m saying you don’t put a newspaper ad, sit on a show day at this level and hope someone is going to come along and put in an offer.

Well, you’ll get a lot of gawkers.

That’s the problem. This is not a gawker home. This is almost by invite, if that makes any sense. We have got, and you talked about an embassy, it’s quite interesting because in my opinion it could make the most superb embassy albeit it that it’s not designed to be one. We are talking to some of the different countries that are looking to invest and reinvest, and the renewed sentiment means people are happier to invest more money. We’ve also, interestingly, Alec, had hotel groups that have been interested in buying this property as a presidential or shall we say a private presidential place for someone to come and stay – presidential or high-end. Very privately – they can have security guards. That back garage, if I’m not incorrect, Ashleigh, was adapted for security guards and the accommodation thereof. To have suites and conferences. It’s also a unique value proposition for a hotel or a boutique operation to have a separate sort of space for people who want total privacy.

How do you reach, clearly, hotels are easy enough, we know who they are but how do you reach the super high, net-worth individuals, who might not know that this house even exists but might be interested in purchasing a super-home in Johannesburg?

Now, that’s fascinating because in my opinion the traditional ‘place an ad in the newspaper’ isn’t necessarily the way forward, Alec. I think what we’re finding is, and time is a rare commodity for a lot of the people that would be the prospective buyers in a home like this. So, what you’ve got to do – I call them, the ‘first class lounge, business class lounge’ shoppers. So, what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to own the internet. You’ve got to be online and have a presence. Social media is becoming increasingly popular. It’s a way of, no matter what LSM level, no matter what your income level is or your net worth. It’s quite an interesting way of keeping in touch with the world. We’ve got ways and means of actually communicating through a targeted marketing strategy through social media and then of course you’ve got your traditional real estate people.

People that you know already, I presume.

And the people that you know already – then you’ve got a direct network.

So, what I’m saying, is it is seriously imposing, number one, and number two, the house was selected as the top home on Top Billing in 2017.

Top Billing, which he refers to, is a prime-time television show aired by the National Broadcaster in SA, featuring the high-life, and most weeks it’s shot on location at one of the country’s best homes so, to be number one is pretty special. Gatsby clearly has the credentials but this is SA, and a pretty turbulent place at that. Plus, R120m might only be $10m but it’s still a lot of money. How long does O’Hagan think it’s going to take to sell this property?

Alec, I can tell you right now this house is not going to be around for long now, given the market conditions, and given where people are at, and given the value in Johannesburg. We haven’t re-launched this house yet, which we’re going to do but we’re already seeing a pent-up demand for properties like this.

Well, that brought to a close a fascinating afternoon. I guess the proof of the pudding will be in how quickly Gatsby finds a new owner. At this level of the market things do take time, but judging by the mood in SA right now, O’Hagan’s prediction that it won’t be too long, could actually be on the money.

This special podcast was brought to you by the Chas Everitt Group. I’m Alec Hogg – until the next time, cheerio.

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