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WOMEN IN PROPERTY: More single females buy than men or couples

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Women are becoming a force to be reckoned with in the South African property market

Lightstone, the property data analysts, says there has been a steady increase in the number of female buyers since 2016.

In fact, single women have overtaken single men and married couples as property buyers, says Cindy Bezuidenhout, lead analyst at Lightstone. She believes that with more women obtaining senior jobs in the public and private sectors, this trend indicates female buyers are becoming more economically empowered.

Since 2013 single women have largely dominated sales in Gauteng, followed by a smaller margin in the Eastern Cape. By contrast, married couples dominate markets in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, followed by single female and then single male buyers, says Bezuidenhout.

“Lightstone reported earlier this year that Gauteng leads the property sales market in terms of volume, and it is very encouraging to see the female market owning this space.”

Property prices have increased in what Bezuidenhout calls the “four main provinces” in the past five years, with the Western Cape enjoying a particularly steady climb.

“What is interesting about average sale prices among female buyers is that they have experienced growth in Gauteng and the Western Cape, but the picture is a more sporadic for  Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, where average volume of sales and the average sale price dropped in 2017.”

But while more single women are buying property across the country, sales figures indicate they are buying cheaper properties than men and married couples.

“Although single females lead in terms of volume ownership across South Africa, they fall into the lowest average sales price.”

Across the country, married couples buy the most expensive properties. Men and women buyers pay less, with the gap between single female and males increasing over the past three years.  married couples buy the most expensive properties. Men and women buyers pay less, with the gap between single female and males increasing over the past three years. 

Looking at single women’s buying patterns since 2013, Lightstone found more than 130 000 women bought properties in the R250 000 and undervalues band – 20% more than males in the same values band. This band is also the most popular across all purchasing types.

“In a comparison between single males and female purchases in the past five years, males have very similar frequency of purchases across the value bands from R250  000 upwards, but slightly exceed the volume of single female purchases in the above R700 000 value bands.”

Lanice Steward, head of training for Pam Golding Properties says: “In line with the global trend, more young women are qualifying as professionals and are being extremely successful and earning meaningful incomes.

“Women are looking for investment opportunities and property is regarded as one of the chosen investments. This has resulted in a significant increase in properties being bought and registered in women’s names. This notable trend is mainly taking place among younger women.”

Adrian Goslett, regional director and chief executive Re/Max Southern Africa, says it is encouraging to see property sales are becoming more representative of the country’s gender statistics.

“As the wage gap becomes smaller, I am positive we will see more women enter the market at higher price bands.”

Property is an asset. Picture: Supplied

Customary Law: Women and property

The Women’s Legal Centre advises that in the past, under customary law women were prohibited from owning property within marriage and from inheriting property upon the death of a father, husband or brother. However, there have been important changes in the law, thanks to several decisions by the Constitutional Court and new laws introduced by the state. These laws recognised that the customary laws were discriminatory and unconstitutional.

◆Women are now entitled to inherit property under customary law.

◆The customary law of succession, which permitted only men to be heirs, was found to be unconstitutional and is no longer the law.

◆Women in a customary marriage are now entitled to own and administer property.

◆All customary marriages are deemed to be automatically in community of property, which means wives have a right to half of the marital assets upon divorce.

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