Property players are looking forward to a fruitful year, not only for buyers, sellers, tenants, and landlords, but the property industry too.
A new year brings with it a fresh chance to improve on things of the past or continue the momentum from the previous year, and with home ownership being an aspiration of many South Africans, the property market is central to many people’s lives.
Dark clouds do still loom over many parts of the country, but there are still opportunities for hope within the property market and industry.
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Paul Stevens, chief executive of Just Property spent much of his youth travelling, yet made a decision many years ago to settle back in South Africa with his Slovakian wife and two children.
“I am so positive about South Africa and the opportunities available to people here, and my primary hope is that others will see those same opportunities. That way, positive sentiment about living in the country will grow and the property market will flourish.”
Consumer and buyer confidence in the residential market will, however, be the key to sustaining current levels of activity, says Herschel Jawitz, chief executive of Jawitz Properties. Even with the expected interest rate increases, buyers need to remain positive about the buying opportunities in the current market.
For sellers, the market will offer sales to those who are realistic about its state and are prepared to price their properties accordingly.
“For investors who are buying yield and not a home, even though property prices are attractive and offer good value, rental prices are low and so they will need to make sure they don’t price themselves out of the market when looking for a tenant. A good paying tenant in this market is worth keeping even with a small escalation.”
The main hope for 2022 for Adrian Goslett, chief executive of Re/Max of Southern Africa, is that interest rate hikes are gradual and incremental as this will influence affordability levels which could put negative pressure on asking prices if increased too fast, too soon.
“I also hope that annual house price appreciation will strengthen this year as these figures have reflected slow, but steady, growth in most provinces for a few years now.”
His final hope is that global travel restrictions ease to allow activity within the foreign markets to pick up again.
As a property owner, and Women in Property SA (WiPSA) board member, Nina Sen also hopes that the interest rate does not increase too much. On a more serious note though, she hopes for an increase in service delivery across all our municipalities, and for property prices to “reflect the true ethos of our communities”.
“I hope for urban regeneration that results in affordable, liveable spaces for South Africans. Covid has shown the importance of information technology and communication infrastructure for students, professionals, and those wanting to connect with their loved ones.
“There should be no disparity in delivering this service across our country and ensuring that there is equality within the 4th industrial revolution. Affordable housing, with appropriate amenities, is seriously lacking in our country, and this needs to be addressed in 2022.”
This year, Sen not only also wants to see more young black people entering the property industry, but agencies taking the time to provide meaningful mentorship and guidance to them.
“Furthermore, I believe that there is a disconnect between estate agencies and skills development which I hope will be rectified soon. This would require agencies to engage with accredited skills development service providers and consultants in an effort to provide education and training to estate agents.”
She says the real estate industry in South Africa needs to consider all markets, and provide quality services to all of its clientele across various market price points.
For the industry, and those who work in it, Goslett hopes for continued success.
“Sales volumes reached record-breaking highs last year, which meant that sales associates had a good chance of recovering from the three months of inactivity caused by the hard lockdown back in 2020. We do not know what lies ahead – interest rates may climb and buyers might become less active – so my hope is that property professionals will make the most of these favourable conditions while they last.”
Jawitz says the industry has emerged from 2021 in “much better shape than anticipated” and this should bode well for more agents entering it, as well as new agencies starting up. This would be greatly welcomed considering the current unemployment crisis in the country.
“One of the keys to taking advantage of the current market will be the implementation of the new Property Practitioners Act, as well as the sorting out of the industry regulatory body, the Estate Agents Affairs Board...It is imperative that these issues get resolved quickly and effectively.”
He says a well-run regulatory body is “critically important” given the imminence of the new act, and the changes it will bring.
As Stevens is “obsessed” with customer service, he hopes property professionals deliver exceptional customer experiences and carry out even the smallest of tasks with great passion and care.
“The sum of all these actions will be what I hope for the industry; a better reputation and therefore more value attributed to the role of real estate professionals.”