Explore the Impact of Sectional Title Performance and First-Time Buyers


Despite the economic challenges faced by South Africa, for those like the EasyProperties investor, who have embraced an innovative and lower-risk approach to accumulating wealth through property, benefiting from the housing market in the main economic hubs remains positive.

The latest data from Lightstone provides some encouraging news for the property sector as a whole. Property sales volumes, which experienced a post-Covid rebound, are currently at their highest level since 2007. The sectional title market's remarkable performance is particularly promising for the EasyProperties investor.

In its February 2023 reporting, Lightstone announced that freehold transactions have fallen from 60% in 2018 to 56% in 2022, while Sectional Schemes have risen from 25% in 2018 to 28% in 2022, and Estates from 14.8% in 2018 to 16.2% in 2022.

Favourable Factors for the Fractional Property Investor

According to EasyProperties CEO, Rupert Finnemore, there are several factors regarding the current rental market that bode well for the fractional property investor.

Shifting Profile of First-Time Buyers

“Firstly, it is interesting to note in recent Lightstone reports that the average age of first-time buyers has increased to 30-40 years, compared to the 20-30-year-old buyers a decade ago. This means that there are more renters in the market than ever before." says Finnemore.

Apart from the current scenario where it is likely that the South African Reserve Banks’ 10th interest rate hike in two years, will send more would-be homeowners and struggling bond payers to the rental market, there may be other reasons connecting the performance of the sectional title market and the age of first-time buyers.


Intensified Friction Points within Traditional Property Models

“Even though it is encouraging to see the best lending conditions and support of the banks since 2007, there is still a plethora of investors who find that the many friction points characterised by traditional property models are a barrier to entry.

The reality is that 54% of all South Africans, regardless of age groups do not buy because of affordability. In addition, buying-to-let means that to attract good quality tenants and maximise returns they need to ensure their offerings are competitive. Doing so means ensuring off street parking, security and alternative energy amongst other things.

For many investors, there is an understandable fear when it comes to being able to identify a good investment. Not only that, there is the time-consuming and onerous administration involved with being a landlord and the management of property.

Finally, no access to short-term liquidity because of the drawn-out sales processes and costs typical of the property market can leave many investors nervous regarding having access to their capital," says Finnemore.

Unprecedented Product Accuracy of Property Developers

The sectional title development market is experiencing significant growth, fuelled by the increasing number of young adults seeking homes near economic hubs. Property developers are stepping up to meet the demands of these tenants with unparalleled precision, as highlighted by Finnemore

In the information age, where data quality plays a crucial role in product development across various industries, the built environment is no exception. The competitive nature of the industry and consumer expectations are driving developers to offer an astonishing array of features. It goes beyond mere bricks and mortar, as tenants and investors are investing in hybrid, work-live-play lifestyles and communities that prioritise security, sustainability, and connectivity. The laundry list of amenities provided by developers is truly impressive, often including rooftop pools, concierge services, meeting rooms, workspaces, communal recreation areas and in some cases, even restaurants and cinemas, according to Finnemore.

In light of these trends, Finnemore emphasises the importance of considering prime locations in developing economic hubs with evident population growth when making buy-to-let investments. According to Lightstone, Gauteng and the Western Cape account for 53% of South Africa's property stock, while 27% of the population resides in Gauteng, 19% in KZN, and 12% in the Western Cape. Interestingly, between 2011 and 2022, population growth at 31% in Gauteng and 24% in the Western Cape were the highest in the country.

“There is also noticeable movement from smaller towns that are experiencing a lack of service delivery and infrastructure investment to areas where the converse is true. For instance, there is anecdotal evidence that both Ballito and Umhlanga are seeing an influx of residents from places like oThangathi (Tongaat) and KwaDukuza (Stanger)," concluded Finnemore.


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