Saffers think post-pandemic with eye on property market

South Africans are still eyeing properties for sale despite the Covid-19 crisis.
Eye on you South Africans are still eyeing properties for sale despite the Covid-19 crisis.
Image: iStock

Despite the weak economy, the Covid-19 crisis and being under lockdown, South Africans still have owning a home on their minds.

Potential homeowners are doing their homework, browsing suburbs virtually and engaging in negotiations with property agents online.

Andrew Golding, head of Pam Golding Property, said the group was “continuing to see some activity” in the residential market.

“Although Covid-19 and the ongoing lockdown has had a significant impact on the housing market ... we are finding that the rapid adoption of new technology is delivering results and enabling the groundwork to be laid for the final conclusion of transactions as soon as the deeds offices around the country are fully operational.” 

Encouraged by interest rate cuts, potential property buyers are actively viewing listings online and engaging with agents.

Ultimately people always need somewhere to live. 
Samuel Seeff

“Another innovation, which is quickly catching on and well received by the marketplace, is the Pam Golding Properties iShow offering, which enables us to showcase our properties online via video viewings and virtual show days using Facebook watch party functionality.

“Consequently, with the aid of modern technology, utilising digital capabilities and communications across various platforms, we are seeing savvy sellers and buyers using available time wisely to research the marketplace and consult with our agents to ensure that their properties are pegged at realistic, market-related prices in the current market.”

They are also using their time to research the market, browse neighbourhoods and properties for sale to move forward with purchase decisions as soon as they are able to physically view their preferred choices.

Golding said the group had also seen an increase in requests for valuations from homeowners looking to sell for a “variety of reasons”.

“As far as where the market will be post this crisis is difficult to predict, but the hope is that there will be pent-up demand from transactions that were already in progress as well as from savvy buyers capitalising on low interest rates and value-for-money property acquisitions.

“It is also probable that there will be financial distress post-lockdown, and this could give rise to a variety of situations, including the repricing of certain markets, altered supply and demand scenarios in different areas and suburbs around the country, and added to this the likelihood of a completely different way of viewing properties and transacting online.”

Samuel Seeff, chairperson of Seeff Property, believes “the emergence phase” from lockdown will be characterised by pent-up demand in the residential market.

Potential homeowners are doing their research.
Potential homeowners are doing their research.
Image: 123RF/Andriy Popov

“While we face an unprecedented time, we do expect to emerge from the lockdown with a ‘perfect storm’ for homebuyers who are eagerly waiting to take advantage of market conditions, especially in the sub-R1.5m [up to R3m in some areas] sector.”

 “A confluence of events has created a rare window of opportunity not seen for over a decade, and purchasing conditions could hardly be more favourable.

“Transfer duty is down across the board, and we believe that the favourable lending climate will continue as banks will compete for business.”

Seeff said while he didn’t expect volumes to spike dramatically, he predicted a “good level of demand”.

“Our branches have already done deals ‘virtually’ with price agreed, but the offers are subject to physical viewings.

“Once the lockdown lifts the agents can quickly move on these and other potential deals.

“Naturally prices will come under pressure, especially at the upper end of the market where we anticipate that buyers will remain in the holding pattern that we have seen over the past 18 months ...

“Overall, the property market will remain a bellwether for the challenges in the country, and will reflect the broader macroeconomic trends, but ultimately people always need somewhere to live.

“Those who want to buy, will do so and will have plenty of motivation to do so.”

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