The year passed has seen a marked improvement in property sales, with the last couple of months characterised by demand outstripping supply in certain metro areas, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
He expects a continued steady improvement in the property market in 1015, with house prices in metro areas rising due to lack of supply.
However, Goslett points out that certain emerging trends and external influences will also play a strong part in shaping the 2015 property landscape.
One of the clear trends currently apparent in the market, according to Goslett, is the segmentation of agents.
“There are two types of agents: counsellors, who are the professional real estate agents that achieve excellent results, and facilitators who merely bring buyer and seller together and hope for the best.”
This has resulted in approximately 15% of the agents currently operating in the market writing 80% of the real estate business.
There has also been a decline in commission rates in the US in recent months, down to an average of 5,2% from around 7%.
South African real estate agents commission rates are also seeing a decline, something Goslett anticipates will continue well into 2015.
Goslett points out that the services that clients value most from their real estate agents are accurate comparative market assessments on the value of the home; their ability to negotiate the best price for their homes and access to websites with current, updated information. “These won’t change in the year ahead.”
The various external factors that could have an exceptional influence on the property market and its growth according to Goslett are:
While Goslett says the interest rates are expected to increase in the first half of next year, he doesn’t believe that it will have any real negative impact on buying patterns.
“The interest rates will more than likely continue to steadily increase throughout the year ahead. Interest rates have been at their lowest ever for a number of years now and we are currently in a rising interest rate cycle.
Inflationary pressure will dictate where this ends and it would seem that we are a long way from controlling our debt,” he says.
Areas for growth:
Talking about sectors of the property market that are ripe for growth in the coming months, Goslett says that affordable housing is now big business and it’s a market that is set to see exponential growth.
“The face of home ownership is changing at a rapid pace and I think the affordable market is going to be a massive contender in the housing sector during 2015.”
Gated communities are still on the rise:
“Security in South Africa will continue to be a major factor that influences buying decisions, one of many reasons why gated communities and estates will remain a popular choice among home buyers,” says Goslett.
“Homes with lower maintenance requirements will also continue to be popular, mainly due to increased utility/municipal costs which are placing additional pressure on consumers’ pockets.”