Agents remain upbeat on sales

Cindy Preller

WITH national property analysts predicting slower house price growth, Port Elizabeth property agents were upbeat about sales in the local market.

Principal of Pam Golding Properties in Port Elizabeth, Ian Olivier, said while subdued, he perceived the local property market as showing positive growth.

"Correctly priced properties are attracting good responses from adverts and on show days. One must remember that property is cyclical and that it's a long-term investment. In the current market, which is heavily influenced by affordability, sellers need to price correctly or be prepared to remain unsold. Buyers are looking for best value – not only have they done their homework with regard to pricing and what's on the market, but they're invariably not in a rush to buy so they have time to compare and consider all options before making an offer," Olivier said.

Sotheby's Port Elizabeth's Thomas Lawrence said sellers and buyers were more realistic in their expectations when selling or buying property.

"This is evident in the record sales that Sotheby's PE has experienced over the winter months, which are not traditionally very busy. Property has become more affordable in comparison to 2008 levels and while much of the affordability is dependent on the inflation outlook, property remains a good investment. The residential property market is expected to continue to reflect trends with regard to economic growth" Lawrence said.

Absa property analyst Jacques du Toit said house price growth continued to slow down in August, based on the average value of middle segment homes.

" Economic activity is currently hampered by labour strikes in some sectors of the economy, leading to significant production losses, which are expected to be reflected in economic growth data for the third quarter of the year. The residential property market is expected to continue to reflect trends with regard to economic growth," Du Toit said.

FNB property analyst John Loos said a recent FNB estate agent survey points to agents perceiving housing affordability levels (house prices relative to income levels) as having improved significantly since 2008, to levels comparable with those seen around 2004.

"However, the improving affordability trend may have all but come to an end more recently... Today, it remains a very 'sane' market, low on speculative and buy-to-let buying, where buyers shop around and bide their time," Loos said.