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Well-priced homes in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal are selling well, despite the economy and the pandemic.

Property buyers are taking full advantage of current market conditions with data and trends from the three big provinces – the Western Cape, KZN and Gauteng – showing that sales continue to climb as the year winds down.

From July to September – following the reopening of the real estate industry in June – there were 72 927property transfers in the country, with the highest number of sales for the year so far being in September (29 030), according to Lightstone data. Almost 175 000 properties were sold in the first 10 months of the year (January to October) and of these three provinces, Gauteng was responsible for most of the sales.

The data reveals that January to October saw 64 275 properties sold in Gauteng compared to 35 467 in the Western Cape and 21 227 in KZN. In terms of average property prices, though, the Western Cape leads with an average selling price of R1.44 million. The average selling price in both KZN and Gauteng over this period was R1.23m.

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There is a property boom in many cities and towns across the country, says Adrian Goslett, chief executive of Re/Max of Southern Africa, predicting that the property market would “continue to see high sales volumes” as many continue to adjust their homes and their lifestyles to suit the post-lockdown world.

Forest Village in Eerste River was the Western Cape’s most popular suburb for buyers, with 705 transfers taking place. In Gauteng, most buyers in purchased in Soshanguve South, where there were 1 978 transfers. The Western Cape and Gauteng property markets have been experiencing a “marked upswing” over the past few months, says Dogon Group Properties managing director Alexa Horne.

Notwithstanding the country’s economic woes, she says the group is still seeing success in the market. “The company’s sales for winter 2020 have been our best ever for what is traditionally a quiet time of the year. The property industry is experiencing an uptick at the moment for a variety of reasons and, while the interest rates are so attractive, we expect this to last.”

These sentiments are reflected in Lightstone’s figures, which show that September was the best month for Gauteng, with 13 000 sales, and in the Western Cape, with 6 802 sales. In both provinces well-priced properties are “selling fast”, Horne says.

Citing PropStats data, Susan Watts, broker/ manager of Re/Max Living in Cape Town, says properties within the Atlantic seaboard area are staying on the market for about 120 days. This, however, is in line with last year’s average of 122 days.

“Properties over R6m take even longer to sell… The massive increase in stock is obviously the most influential factor. Buyers are spoiled for choice. “Another factor is that buyers are often offering far less than the listing price.”

In cases where apartments in the area are taking longer to sell, Dogon sales agent James Curtis says it is normally due to the asking prices being too high for the current market. The average selling price for a sectional title apartment in the area is around R4m, with PropStats data showing that they are selling at an average of 18% below the asking price.

Luc Delys, a team leader at Re/Max All Stars in Alberton and Germiston, says properties are taking just under three months to sell in these Gauteng areas. “The average time on market for properties priced up to R1.5m has certainly dropped and in some cases, they are taking only days to sell.”

Taryn Murphy, franchisee of Rawson Properties Greenstone in Joburg, says sales in the area are “certainly active” with prices ranging from R1m to R9m. Property price growth is, however, slow, a fact that she attributes to the poor state of the economy.

While, initially, Covid-19 caused many listings to be placed in a holding pattern, she says the record low-interest rates and motivated lenders have “triggered a flood of potential buyers”. With 925 property transfers, Cornubia was KZN’s best-selling area from January to last month, Lightstone figures show.

Seeff Property Group in the province has achieved record sales post lockdown and, according to Roger Hoaten, managing director of Seeff Berea, market demand is sustained. “Clearly, the favourable bond rates continue to impact the market very positively. We see this demand continuing into the new year,” he says.

Lightstone figures reveal that the province has seen increasing numbers of property sales since July, with the best sales month being September with 3 692 transfers. In KZN’s Upper Highway area, sales and lets have been “quite steady”, says Debbie Bennett of Prime Estates. Prices, however, are down due to Covid-19 and the tough economy.

“Bonds are easy for purchasers to obtain thanks to the low-interest rate and this has stimulated sales, especially in the bracket below R2m. As we approach Christmas, sales usually slow down, but the trend may be different this year, with the market still playing catch up.”

In Umhlanga, Don Taylor of Rawson Properties in the area, says correctly priced stock shortages are being experienced in the R900 000 to R1.3m range as well as the R1.5m to R2m range. “Buyers still have the perception that sellers are desperate and are submitting offers between 10% and 20% below the list price. The upper market above R5m is still pretty slow and will continue to stay so. Stock in this sector, however, is in abundance.” 

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