Could the current Covid-19 situation be the silver lining for prospective buyers?
Though this will no doubt be a tough year, for some unfortunate industries more than others, South Africans are resilient people, and we will rebuild our economy over time. The upside is, that the current situation could also be the catalyst for eager homebuyers to take advantage of the market conditions. The banks are still offering favourable rates, we’ve already seen a few interest rate cuts and urgent sellers are likely to be more negotiable right now.
Which market segment has done the best so far this year?
The low to mid-market segment for vacant land has performed exceptionally well this year in Struisbaai and L’Agulhas (from R270 000 to R500 000) as well as the houses for sale in our lowest bracket market (R1 000 000 to R3 000 000). The other market segment that has done well this year is the properties that have a prime location (Between R7 000 000 to R8 500 000).
How do you suggest house hunters continue their search during lockdown?
With the whole country in lockdown, there are limitations, but technology is on our side. All our properties are listed online for prospective buyers to view. Most of the properties have video added to the listing to give the viewer a sense of indeed visiting the property. Our agents are all still working, and are available to contact on email, phone or whatsapp.
Even though there are no precedents in dealing with our current situation, how have you seen previous economic downfalls influence the property market?
“I have been through a few seasons throughout the course of my career in real estate where the economy has struggled. The investors with cash on hand will quite possibly grab this opportunity to buy property. Interest rates have not been this low during my lifetime, and that may certainly persuade prospective buyers to invest now. After every downturn in the economy, there has been a positive upswing again. The property market seems to always hold its own despite a weak economy." Strepies van Wyk - Principal, Chas Everitt Cape Agulhas.
Do you foresee more people relocating to the country, and working remotely, after lockdown has lifted?
We do foresee a greater migration out of the cities to safer and more natural surroundings after lockdown has been lifted. We have already seen a trend of the super-commuters, or travelling professionals, travelling between their jobs in the city and their homes in the countryside. The country towns Napier and Bredasdorp, along with coastal areas Struisbaai, Agulhas, Suiderstrand and Arniston offer buyers the opportunity to live a mere 2 hours away from the city. Many internet-based businesses have already made the move to the country long before this pandemic started, realising that working from home is a viable but also a cost-saving option.
What are some of the Trends the Chas Everitt International property group see developing, as a result of Covid-19?
"Trends we see developing are that some higher earners who have had their wealth diminished by falling equity prices are staying out of the market, while others are inclined to increase their property holdings now in recognition of the fact that, while growth in this sector is slower, it is still a lot less risky than the stock market. In addition, it affords investors many opportunities for tax relief." - Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group.
Strepies, as Principal of Chas Everitt Cape Agulhas, how do you see the immediate future of real estate in South Africa?
We live in a time of uncharted waters, and there has never been a time quite like this one, where we are all called to stand, and rise to the challenge. As property professionals, we have always been proud to offer exceptional service that is client-centred and with a great knowledge of the area. Add to that a willing buyer and seller, a competitively priced property, an open Deeds Office, and you are on your way to a successful property sale!
Although the pace of sales in the real estate market has slowed down during the Covid-19 pandemic around the world, the pace of change has continued to accelerate, and this is the time where we have to keep learning and innovating if we want to be successful.
We are grateful to be part of the Chas Everitt International property group, and their response to the pandemic and lockdown in South Africa has been the continued investment in the growth and development of their people. What gives us so much confidence in being part of the Chas Everitt International property group is the group's determination to ensure our clients get the highest standard of professional service. Continually equipping us with the latest knowledge, understanding and skills by the best teachers and trainers.
We'd like to leave you with the words of a fellow South African, photographer and ex-boxer, Christo Smith, taken from the much-celebrated #Imstaying Facebook group:
"We are not all in the same boat, but we are in the same storm. I WILL NOT let this storm sink me. I will swim, and I will fight to the best of my ability and I have placed my faith in God. Find your strength. Choose to be positive, pro-active and optimistic. Your will belongs to you, and no one can take that away unless you let them."