Flexible, secure and affordable living are the new essentials as more choose to rent and share ownership.
Lifestyle changes and economic pressures are undoubtedly changing trends in the property market, but as with all evolutionary processes, the knock-on effects of such disruptions can take a little longer to kick in.
The market should, however, be prepared for a bigger shake-up in the way property is bought, sold and even viewed as current trends grow. Globally, the desire for more flexible and affordable living – plus better security – has seen movement towards renting property or sharing homes.
These trends are evident in South Africa, but Herschel Jawitz, chief executive Jawitz Properties, says they are not yet impacting the residential market as strongly as one would think.
The obvious implication of the shared living and renting trends is “shifting the number of potential buyers to lessees”. The numbers would, however, have to be quite significant to impact property prices.
“One area where shared living could have a positive impact in South Africa is in that of student accommodation, which remains in short supply across the country, especially in areas close to large universities.”
In the rental space, sharing is popular with students and young professionals driving this market, says Knight Frank sales manager Lisa Connellan.
“The market at the moment has an abundance of student accommodation and developers are specifically targeting students when designing new developments,” she says.
Multi-generational living is more prominent when buying families are able to combine household expenses and reduce living costs. The rental market is also seeing more people renting homes and renting out rooms within the homes, says Caron Leslie, broker-owner at Re/Max Property Associates.
However, this is not advisable. “We have discovered tenants renting a home and sub-letting rooms at a profit. Sometimes these tenants are not even living in the home. Often, a lease has come to an end but there is still a tenant sub-letting a room and it has been difficult to have them vacate.”
She advises landlords to thoroughly vet potential tenants and use the services of professional agents to guard against these occurrences.
The move towards shared ownership of homes by family members will also change the mindsets of many buyers in terms of how they view potential homes and what they want homes to offer. “Properties that offer dual living – be it a separate wing or cottage – are highly sought after.
Families want their privacy, but it is a bonus to share the costs of maintenance and other services, such as an armed response service,” Leslie says “With new builds, we are seeing a trend towards the separate en suite bedroom, which would have been a guest suite, now gaining its own separate entrance with the intention of it being rented out as an additional income source. I fully expect to see an increase in shared living.”