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Take a look at how the property market has unfolded over the past 11 months

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January: The year opens with the ongoing buyer’s market. South Africans also look to make decisions on relocation and semigration. A total of 14 302 properties were sold, with an average purchase price of R1.34 million. Lightstone’s national house price inflation is 1.72%.

February: Aspiring homeowners still prepare to take advantage of the buyer’s market. Load shedding happens again and many people look abroad for property investment and emigration. Meanwhile, the #ImStaying movement reinvigorates confidence in the country. A total of 21 096 properties were sold with an average purchase price of R1.19m. National house price inflation is 1.85%.

March: South Africa enters a national lockdown on March 27. The Deeds Office closes and the property market is mostly shut down. A total of 26 546 properties were sold with an average purchase price of R1.21m.

April: Movement between properties is not permitted, leaving many landlords and tenants in the lurch. Landlords face non-payment of rents due to struggling tenants. Estate agents start reworking their marketing strategies to allow buyers to view properties online. A total of three properties were sold with an average purchase price of R1.68m. House price inflation is 2.4%.

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May: The only housing transactions being finalised are those started before lockdown. Once-off movement between properties is allowed. A spotlight is shone on the living conditions of many poor and vulnerable South Africans. A total of 4 776 properties were sold with an average purchase price of R1.22m. The repo rate drops from 4.25% to 3.75%. House price inflation is 2.37%.

June: The Deeds Office reopens although, in many areas, is hampered by closures due to Covid infections. Buyers remain cautious about viewings and investing in the economy. Many are also reeling from job losses and salary cuts. The end of payment holidays looms. A total of 12 019 properties were sold with an average purchase price of R1.14m. House price inflation is 2.42%.

July: Agents are under pressure following the market shutdown and continue to offer virtual property viewings. Pent-up demand for property is seen in the buying numbers. Holiday homeowners start shifting their properties to the longterm let market. A total of 19 507 properties were sold with an average purchase price of R1.29m. The repo rate is dropped to 3.75% from 3.5%. House price inflation is 2.3%

August: The construction industry is clawing out of the lockdown and making up for project delays. The residential property market kicks into a higher gear as more people look to buy. A total of 24 390 properties were sold with an average purchase price of R1.27m. House price inflation is 2.15%.

September: Low-interest rates encourage tenants to get on to the property ladder. The rental market is under increasing pressure as many tenants purchase their homes, leaving rising vacancies. A total of 29 030 properties were sold with an average purchase price of R1.28m. House price inflation is 2.08%.

October: New property developments, particularly retirement accommodation, continue to be launched. Homes with semi-detached flatlets for multi-generational living are in demand. A total of 22 767 properties were sold with an average purchase price of R1.31m. House price inflation is 2.08%.

November: Smaller towns and cities experience property booms. Properties – for sale and to let – in such areas are often better priced, and offer more space. Buyers take advantage of favourable market conditions. The repo rate is steady at 3.5%.

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