I remember when the local press were falling over themselves to hail former model, now lingerie saleswoman, Caprice Bourret and her “savvy” property purchases in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Oh well no more Top Billing appearances for Capirce.
If all this sounds bad, her investment in Johannesburg has fared even worse. In early 2006 Caprice decided to buy a house in South Africa because she was launching her lingerie range there.
Spurning Cape Town, she chose a wealthy suburb in Johannesburg, imagining that retail links would be easier to forge from a major business centre. She bought a four-bedroom house with one acre in the suburb of Bryanston for a bargain Â£300,000 and spent about Â£400,000 doubling its size.
The home now boasts a huge master bedroom with two fireplaces, its own private lounge and separate dressing area, a triple garage and a luxurious entertainment area featuring a bar, pool tables and dance floor. It is on the market for 5.3 million rand ( Â£373,000).
Caprice had expected her business to do well in South Africa – she is a fairly well known face there from her modelling days – so she bought the house purely for her own use as a base.
Caprice Bourret’s home in Bryanston, Johannesburg
Since she wasn’t planning on letting it she didn’t take out a mortgage and paid cash instead, so it’s entirely her own capital she is losing.
The rand stood at 9.5p at the start of 2006, but between April and September that year it lost 25 per cent to around 7p, where it still stands today, so even if her property had retained its original value
Caprice would have lost nearly Â£250,000 through the currency fluctuation alone. Factor in a 20- 25 per cent slump in house prices and the value of her investment has nearly halved.
‘I know it’s a bad idea to sell at the bottom of the market,’ she says with a moan. ‘ But I am pulling my business out of South Africa and I have no more need of that house.
‘I could hold on to it, but in my opinion it’s going to take years before the market recovers and renting it in the meantime is a risk – and there’s a much higher chance in South Africa that tenants may trash it. It seems best just to swallow my pride and cut my losses.’
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