There is no better time for women to think about buying homes of their own or becoming property investors, says Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group.
“One reason is that there are currently more properties for sale in most areas than prospective buyers and that prices are accordingly very negotiable,” he says.
“In fact more than 90% of sellers currently have to drop their asking prices by around 10% to achieve a sale, so there is a good chance of being able to purchase more home than you expected for the money you have available.”
Another reason to buy now, he notes, is that it is relatively easy to obtain a home loan. “Of course you need to have a steady household income and a good credit record, but the banks are currently keen to lend to home buyers and are offering good interest rates.
“This is especially true if you have already saved up a deposit and if you apply through an originator like BetterBond, which is currently able to get approval for 80% of the home loan applications it submits.”
Thirdly, says Kotzé, there is high and growing demand now and in the foreseeable future for rental properties, “which makes this a good time for women to become property investors and start acquiring rental homes that will provide them with capital growth along with an independent income stream”.
Looking beyond the current economics, he also says that a survey conducted by Private Property last year showed that women are in fact already the major decision-makers when it comes to property purchases, with 51% making the decision by themselves or on behalf of a partner.
“Women also outnumber men when it comes to single buyers, accounting for an estimated 10% or total home purchases compared to 7% made by single men, and we really hope to see this trend accelerating now as more women in SA move into top government and corporate positions or set up their own successful businesses.
“Property ownership is after all one of the strongest expressions of financial independence - and the sense of empowerment and personal security which that provides.”