Busy young executives and professionals are deliberately looking for smaller homes in upmarket suburbs so that they can enjoy the advantages without the maintenance burden.

South Africa's economic recession, impacted severely by the Covid-19 Pandemic, means a decline in the number of households is expected.  

It could also increase household “shutdowns”, suggests FNB Property Strategist John Loos.

"People losing jobs during this recession, and unable to cover the costs of living as a stand-alone household, could opt to either move back in with their parents, or to merge households with other households, for example, two rental tenants or homeowners, previously staying in separate residences alone, choosing to live together in one residence, either ending the rental or the owners of the other property.

Household “shutdowns” need not only be young working people. It can also be elderly people moving into their children’s’ home.

"Slowing pace of new household formation as a result of tough economic times slows growth in overall demand for residential property, too, translating into a slower required rate of new additions to total housing stock, thus exerting pressure on new residential development too," suggests Loos. 

Downscaling has seen a growing trend among busy young executives and professionals to deliberately seek out smaller homes in upmarket suburbs so that they can enjoy the advantages of living in such areas without maintenance or security becoming too much of a burden.

Don't be too hasty to plan a renovation

With more people working from home at least part of the time now, the demand for properties with a study or home-office space has increased - but if your property does not have this extra space you should not be too hasty to plan an addition or renovation before trying to sell.

There is currently excellent demand for well-priced smaller properties – especially among first-time buyers who are keen to move to established suburbs close to good schools and workplaces – and that adding on would, in many cases, just make your property too expensive for such buyers.

In addition, there are many retirees who don’t want to leave a familiar area but would be delighted to downsize from a large family home to a smaller property that is easier to manage.

Consequently, we recommend that rather than make any expensive alterations, home sellers should focus on ensuring that the space they do have is well presented to potential buyers, both online and during viewings. This is what will really give their home the edge over others in the same price range.

And while the number-one way to make a small home look bigger and more appealing is to get rid of all forms of clutter there are many other cost-effective strategies that owners can also employ such as:

  • Painting walls and ceilings in light colours and hanging light curtains and blinds;
  • Removing unnecessary items of furniture and adding mirrors to give rooms more depth;
  • Using tall, narrow lamps and planters that take up less floor space and add an
  • Impression of height; and
  • If possible, incorporating an outside entertainment area into the “living space” through the use of sliding doors.


Courtesy of Property24



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