The Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal are the country’s favourite provinces to buy property, with homes in these regions selling faster than those in other provinces.
Inner cities throughout the country, meanwhile, are proving attractive to young home buyers.
Citing the latest FNB Property Barometer, Grant Smee, managing director of the Only Realty Property Group says the national average time a house spends on the market is eight weeks.
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In coastal areas, however, this time is shorter.
“Unsurprisingly, given the surge of semigration to the province, the Western Cape indicated the most favourable conditions for selling in the country, with the average time a property spent on the market being six weeks and three days.
“It’s clear that the Western Cape is going to lead the country in terms of demand and a competitive residential property market for some time to come.”
He says the province has seen a “surge” of semigration as people choose to relocate in the search for “the excellent quality of life that the Cape offers”.
“The popularity is reflected in the province’s higher property prices and lower rental vacancy rates.”
FNB data shows that KZN follows closely behind the Western Cape, with the average time spent on the market being six weeks and four days.
“Gauteng, the country’s most populated province, recorded the longest time at eight weeks and six days,” Smee says, adding, however, that one common trend across all provinces in that well-priced homes sell the fastest.
“By price segment, homes within the R1.3 million to R2.6 million bracket were snapped up the fastest, with the average time spent on the market at six weeks and four days.”
When it comes to house price inflation, Smee says Lightstone data shows there is also a “marked difference” across provinces.
- Northern Cape: 9.4% inflation
- North West: 6.9% inflation
- Eastern Cape: 6.6% inflation
- Western Cape: 6.3% inflation
- Free State: 5.4% inflation
- Limpopo: 4.9% inflation
- KZN: 4.5% inflation
- Gauteng: 4.4% inflation
- Mpumalanga: 4.4% inflation
“It’s important to note that these statistics don’t mean that it’s suddenly cheaper to buy a home in Camps Bay than it is to buy a home in Kimberly. The most expensive properties in South Africa are still primarily located in the coastal provinces, and Lightstone’s inflation figures are primarily boosted by high rates of activity in what they classify as the ‘low value segment’ – less than R250 000.”
He says the strong performance of affordably priced homes and inflation growth in the inland provinces may bring some relief to sellers.
“While houses in the Western Cape or KZN are more likely to sell faster than similarly priced properties in other provinces, it is still price and not geography that is the number one determining factor in how fast a home will sell.”
Young people want to live in cities
Inner city living across the country, meanwhile, is boosting the city residential property market and driving urban rejuvenation, says Andrea Tucker, Director of MortgageMe. This urban densification trend is accelerating post Covid-19 due to lockdowns having changed the way people work, leaving many office and retail spaces in city CBDs empty and disused.
She says this is urging developers and investors who own commercial properties in inner cities to transform their building stock into residential or mixed-use developments, reigniting a trend for inner city living. The benefits of such living include reduced commuting time, lower living costs, and better access to transport hubs, essential services, and universities.
“The shift to inner city living tends to be more inclusive of lower income home seekers while also combating unsustainable urban sprawl. Cities have a huge capacity to densify and support large numbers of people while limiting their impact on the environment due to reduced land consumption, efficient infrastructure, and fewer cars on the road. And, with the state of the economy as it is, more middle-class South Africans are looking for smaller, centrally located spaces with lower rates and levies.
“This trend among the younger middle class to buy smaller, lock-up-and-go spaces in cities is driving urban regeneration and boosting the urban residential property market.”
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Small living spaces, says Graham Ross of Just Property Blouberg, are “great” as they are more affordable.
“You save on utilities and home maintenance. And it will be easier to make the capital investments that will save you even more in the long run, like a solar system. Going small will allow you to buy in a better area. And if you are downscaling, you’ll have more for little luxuries like travelling, and to put towards other investments.”
Ana Roberts of Just Property Upper Highway agrees. “Another great benefit is that small spaces require less furniture – a few great statement pieces allow for simple, minimalist decor and a beautiful, welcoming home at a fraction of the cost of furnishing a big house. And the cleaning is a breeze!”
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