Slow market still presents opportunities

Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group.

The outlook for the national housing market is still constrained – given that economic growth remains weak and the international environment is becoming increasingly unsettled, with risks of trade wars, China’s economic slowing, oil prices rising and other factors, there are still opportunities in well priced housing markets – particularly those which offer an attractive lifestyle away from the congestion and stress of the major metro areas.

This was the message from Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group, speaking at the company’s end of year media function.

“Certainly, the young age profile of residents of South Africa and much of Africa presents a huge opportunity, as there is a long-term structural demand for housing. SA is already a global leader in green/sustainable building in the commercial sector and increasingly in residential.

“Niche accommodation such as student housing and retirement units are growing markets and also areas where developers are only now beginning to adjust to the lifestyle requirements of these buyers.”

He said that apartments are another opportunity, because first time buyers generally start with an apartment but so do downsizers – although they usually opt for more expensive apartments. However, SA housing stock still reflects the old preference for large suburban homes, which for cost and security, and perhaps also lifestyle reasons, are less popular among some home buyers.

Small towns or lifestyle towns, previously considered holiday home destinations are starting to attract a growing number of buyers looking for primary residences, to escape the stress, congestion and expense of living in major urban hubs.

“With private hospitals and schools being built in smaller towns, such as Hermanus, for example, it becomes an option to live there. Homes are more affordable, lifestyle is more relaxed and commuting less stressful,” said Golding.

“For investors, in today’s environment it’s important to consider location – and any congestion factor, price and understanding the type of property for which there is consistent demand – for example first time homes, student accommodation, retirement units and luxury sectional title units for downsizers and lifestyle changers.

“As people increasingly adopt a live-work-play lifestyle, we are starting to see the growth of decentralised hubs in which there is a growing 24-hour economy. This is a major positive for property owners as it means that it is possible to get more use out of an existing property – not just for working or living but instead a single building or development is used for living, working, shopping, exercising and entertainment.”