Wednesday, January 16

Semigration takes of again

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Increasing use of technology in property sector also predicted for 2019

The upcoming general elections may be clouding predictions for the property market, but semigration and downscaling are sure bets this year. And regardless of what happens at the polls, property technology will also continue to see growth in 2019.

Semigration slowed early last year due to the water crisis in the Western Cape, which is the most popular destination for semigrants, but Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate chief executive Mike Greeff says this will change.

“The end of the drought means more people will look to Cape Town as a destination without being concerned about a possible Day Zero. This also applies to foreign buyers wanting to purchase holiday homes in Cape Town.”

Nardee Cotterell, chief operations officer at online agency PropertyFox, agrees: “With the dam levels back up, we expect to see the number of Joburg and even Durban families moving south start to rise once again in the early months of 2019.”

Many of these families will want to buy homes within the catchment areas of their preferred schools, she says. These areas will also appeal to downscalers.

“The increasing petrol prices and all-round living costs have added to the trend of sellers looking to down-scale, with sellers wanting to live closer to work and school and cutting costs where possible.”

A desire for smaller, more modular and low-maintenance homes will start to become an established rather than emerging trend, says Yael Geffen, chief executive of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.

Charia Thatcher, SAProperty.com agent in the southern suburbs, says: “People are feeling the pinch so middle to lower-income properties will be sold with ease, thanks to affordability and ease of bond plans available to first-time home owners. Downscaling is a big buzz and although owners try to hold on to their portfolios, the trend seems to be to let them go to create cash flow and to pursue other investment opportunities.”

Across the world, new homes are more compact and closer together, with shared amenities and costs, says Myles Wakefield, chief executive of Wakefields Real Estate.

“As people prioritise security, family and lifestyle, they want to live closer to work, schools and leisure opportunities. That has driven the growth in sectional title complexes, apartment blocks and gated estates. This is a trend which is here to stay.”

Looking at technology, Denise Dogon, chief executive of Dogon Group Properties, says virtual reality technology is already being used to allow buyers to remotely view properties and even yet-to-be-built homes.”

Buyers looking for homes are starting to use property technology, and this trend will keep growing, says Cotterell.

Geffen predicts sales will increasingly originate through social media.

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