Commercial NewsResidential News

Stable repo rate a boost for first-time home buyers

With the rand regaining some ground and inflation surprising on the downside this week, existing and aspirant home buyers will be relieved at the Monetary Policy Committee’s decision today (20 September 2018) not to increase the repo rate, says Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group.

“However, although the MPC did not raise interest rates this week, persistent rand weakness this year, rising inflation expectations and repeated petrol price hikes suggest that the first hike of the new interest rate cycle may occur in late 2018 rather than in 2019 as previously anticipated.

“In a property market largely sentiment-driven, we’ve recently seen evidence of recovery in demand gathering momentum, particularly among first-time home buyers, who will be further encouraged by the steady and relatively low interest rate.”

Dr Golding says positively, this sector of the market is demonstrating increasing appetite and activity, as noted in a recent report by ooba which highlights that in August, over half (51%) of all their mortgages were extended to first-time buyers, transacting at an average price of R953 644 – a figure which is rising steadily. This is compared with a median price of R1 188 492 for all ooba-approved mortgages during the same period.

Says Dr Golding: “Further good news for home buyers is that ooba’s statistics for August reveal that the average deposit required by banks was slightly reduced, at 12.5% of the total purchase price.

“Given the fact that in the current economic climate consumers in general are cost-focused, price is crucial in the residential property market, so while South Africa does have a predominantly young population, one has to either rent or own a home, so there is a steady, underlying demand for housing.

Value for money a priority for home buyers

“Value for money is therefore a recurring theme for first-time and repeat buyers alike. Positively, in today’s market, there are a number of areas around the country which offer good value as well as the potential for sound capital appreciation over the medium to longer term.

“Looking at the major metros, in the burgeoning East Rand, an area experiencing the strongest recovery among Gauteng metro markets, the best value for money is offered in areas such as Eastleigh in Edenvale, Beyerspark in Boksburg and Glen Marais in Kempton Park, where a standard three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with double garage can be had starting from around R1.7 million- R1.9 million up to R2.1 million/R2.2 million, while in the Benoni suburbs of Farrarmere and Rynfield, three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes with double garage go for between R2.2 million and R6 million. These are all high-demand areas, with the abovementioned homes generally single-storey and somewhat dated.

“In Randburg, there are a number of suburbs which offer significant value, such as Blairgowrie – due to its proximity to the Sandton hub and to the upmarket suburbs of Craighall and Parkview – where properties can be acquired for the late R1 millions to the early R2 millions. Another little-known suburb offering good value for money is Franklin Roosevelt Park, also due to its proximity to Sandton and Rosebank as well as the affordable, good government schools in the area.”

Dr Golding says in Johannesburg South, areas such as Meyersdal and Oakdene offer newly-built, value-for-money townhouse units with two bedrooms and one bathroom, ranging between R800 000 and R1.395 million, while in the Eye of Africa Lifestyle Estate, in the same price band, units comprise two bedrooms and two bathrooms. All these units cater for the millennial mindset and lifestyle.

“In the greater Fourways region, areas such as Pineslopes, Douglasdale and Northriding are seen as ideal for first-time buyers, with prices varying from suburb to suburb and spanning the price range from R720 000 for one-bedroom apartments, R850 000 to R900 000 for two bedrooms and from R1.25 million to R1.55 million for freestanding sectional title homes. In the areas of Midrand, Rivonia, Sunninghill and Morningside it is also still possible to acquire one or two-bedroom units at prices starting below R1 million.

“Meanwhile in Pretoria, the areas of Equestria, Moreleta Park and Mooikloof Ridge have high appeal for first-time buyers with residential property prices ranging from R850 000 to R1.5 million-R1.8 million.

“Forming part of eThekwini Metro in the suburb of Amanzimtoti on the outskirts of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, a two-bedroom flat with single parking can be had from just R850 000 while a three- bedroom, two-bathroom residence of approximately 180sqm can be purchased from R1.25 million.

“In addition, certain parts of Glenwood and Morningside offer great value for money – you can pick up a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home anywhere from R1.1 million to just under R3 million for a more upmarket property.”

Dr Golding adds that in the Western Cape, Parklands on the West Coast – well-placed on the MyCiti bus route, is one of the fastest growing residential areas providing excellent value, with homes starting at R1.2 million for a two-bedroom home to R2.85 million for a five-bedroom house and sectional title units ideal for first-time buyers from an entry level price of only R600 000. In Burgundy Estate, between Cape Town and Durbanville Hills and 10 minutes from Century City, young, first-time buyers are flocking to buy sectional title units in the price range from R900 000 for a one-bedroom apartment to R1.5 million for two bedrooms and two bathrooms.”