2023 South African Property Market Trends: Insights from BLOK's Jacques Van Embden

Looking into the future of the South African property market can be a complex and unpredictable task, but we caught up with Jacques Van Embden, a property developer in Cape Town and MD of BLOK, to get his thoughts on what 2023 has in store. Despite facing geopolitical instability, the Western Cape has been touted as one of the most exciting emerging markets globally, with growth in sales along the Atlantic Seaboard being a clear indication that investors still see the benefit of making long-term property investments in the region. Jacques also highlights the impact of semigration and the return of an international market as trends that are driving growth in the market.

Jacques has brought some of the most exceptional properties to our platform, including Six On N and Four-On-O, located in the Atlantic Seaboard region of the Western Cape. Four-On-O was projected to yield a rental income of 6.2%, and as per the quarterly report, it has exceeded expectations with an impressive 18% rental yield (after fees) in December 2022 and January 2023. With such remarkable success, we were eager to pick Jacques' brain on his predictions for the South African property market in 2023.

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  1. What is your overall outlook for the 2023 property market in South Africa?
    Overall, the sentiment around the market for 2023 is one of positivity and optimism. Yes, there are challenges to be faced, but if one takes a pragmatic look at the potential of the region, it is undeniable that the incredible natural assets, urban parks and exquisite promenades are world class, and offer excellent capital growth and return on investment. It is now up to local government to ensure that strategies for growth are successfully put in place to meet the demand of a market perfectly primed for purchase.

  2. What factors do you think will drive the property market?
    Of course, the interest rate is also going to be a key factor that shapes the buying market. The pressure for developers will be managing the cost of their properties and their inflationary experiences as inflation rates readjust to be more in line with historical trends.

    Additionally, if governance remains stable we should see the continuation of foreign buyers returning to SA and more specifically the western cape and this positive contributor to the demand side of the market will add more buoyance to pricing and yields

  3. Do you expect any significant changes in property prices in certain regions of South Africa?
    Growth in sales along the Atlantic Seaboard is a clear indication that even though the country has faced geopolitical instability, investors are still seeing the benefit of making long-term property investments in the “Riviera” of Cape Town – the band of suburbs located between the Table Mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean on Cape Town’s western coastline. In fact, the Western Cape has been touted as one of the most exciting emerging markets globally.

    A prime example of an area of growth for the region is Sea point, which is developing into more than just a daytime paradise and night-time party place. The area is becoming increasingly popular for those looking for connected living spaces which will certainly play a pivotal role in shaping the buying market in 2023. The evolution of property development that extends living spaces beyond the front door with expansion into bustling restaurant-lined streets, beach-side walkways, outdoor gyms and green spaces, for example, is becoming an extremely attractive drawcard for buyers across the board – from seasoned investors to young up-and-comers, all the way to empty nesters. 

  4. Are there any emerging trends in the South African property market that you believe will gain momentum in 2023?
    A trend that is driving growth is the return of an international market. 2010 Soccer World Cup fever set off a seaboard property boom which peaked around 2015 and has dropped steadily since. But now the Western Cape is once again leading the market with sales of luxury, or trophy homes valued at more than R20 million, fetching close to R3 billion in the first nine months of 2022. Approximately 80% of these sales have been in the suburbs of the Atlantic Seaboard, especially Camps Bay, Clifton, Bantry Bay, Fresnaye, and the Waterfront.

    Semigration – or the ‘zoom boom’ - is also showing a revival and is set to become more of a market driver in 2023 with buyers from inland cities increasingly making the move to coastal areas that are geared towards a slower, safer, quality lifestyle, with municipalities that are typically better run than those in other parts of the country. 

    For those who don’t want to or are unable to make the physical move down to the coast, we are also seeing the semigration of investment as more buyers seek to invest in an area that is showing such massive growth potential.

    Whatever the reasons may be, buyers are searching for properties that range from trophy homes to oceanside apartments, and everything in between across the Western Cape which bodes well for the property developers’ market in 2023

  5. How will the state of the South African economy affect the property market?
    Despite the challenging conditions brought on by the pandemic, South Africa’s property development market has remained surprisingly resilient. With the country experiencing the first post-pandemic interest rate hike in November 2021, and a subsequent one in January 2022, a slowdown of movement in the market was predicted. But new data from Stats SA shows that building plans passed for residential developments in the Western Cape have increased by 22.2% year-on-year to a value of R15.4 billion in 2022 – while plans completed over the same period in the region increased by 21.6% to the value of R9.2 billion..

  6. Will there be any particular types of properties that you think will perform better or worse, such as residential vs commercial properties?
    I think homes in areas that are reasonably secure or better will excel. Whilst many things have improved in the Western Cape and the City of CT, it is still the most fundamental part to get right, security. And the big key here is how local communities and their municipalities can partner and work together to keep safety levels at best of breed. Petty crime will always be a reality in the modern world, but efforts to reduce more serious crimes will show up materially from the demand side.

    Residential is definitely the winner for the next few years… people are moving to concentrated areas of excellence within SA and this migration of people and money is creating real pressure on demand creating a strong environment for sellers. It will take a few years for the building / developer market to meet this growth, meaning in the short term it could be a great time to invest in your new home / investment.


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In conclusion, the South African property market in 2023 looks set for success, with promising growth potential, especially in regions like the Western Cape. According to Jacques, semigration, an international market, and a growing demand for connected living spaces are driving market growth. Although there are challenges to be faced, such as managing property costs and inflation, Jacques remains optimistic about the outlook of the property market in 2023. With his company Blok, Jacques is excited to be at the forefront of the industry and contribute to the growth of the South African property market.



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