Continued shift in homeowners’ priorities
This massive increase in buyer interest was spurred by a shift in homeowners’ priorities. “Almost overnight, people needed more space to work and school their children from home; bigger family areas, kitchens and gardens became sought after; and people no longer had to plan their days around commuting. Many South Africans ‘semigrated’ from city centres to outlying areas to find homes that could accommodate these needs. Not only do the suburbs, and even rural towns, have this kind of space, they also offer more bang for your buck, which, combined with the falling interest rate, powered massive growth within a certain price range
Conversely, the same time period saw many South Africans downscaling due to financial constraints caused by lockdown. The upshot, says du Toit, is that the residential property market burgeoned: “It’s safe to say that the property market is buoyant, even in an economic environment that continues to be volatile.”
Seasonal patterns still in play
The property market is seasonal, and buyer interest dropped over the holiday period at the end of 2020 but had recovered by mid-January, 1.39 enquiries every seven days per property on their books (an increase of 54% since July 2020). In March, this is levelling off to one enquiry per property every 7 days (an increase of 11% since July 2020
While they do expect to see a slight drop in buyer interest over the next two months, due to Easter and the school holidays, they predict a rapid recovery in June and July. “If you’re thinking of selling,” says du Toit, “May will be a great time to put your property on the market. However, while we believe that buyer interest will be high, it will be really important to price your property correctly if you want to sell it quickly.”
Sellers need to remain negotiable
We expect to see a strong buyers’ market continue well into 2021, especially in areas like Sandton, which, last year saw 33% of sellers, mainly in the suburbs of Bryanston, Paulshof, Sunninghill and Douglasdale, needing to reduce their asking price before receiving any offers. They also accepted offers of around 95% of their original asking price.