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First-time buyers, now is the time to invest in property

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First-time buyers, now is the time to invest in property

Consumers in the upper income groups may be scaling down and buying less expensive homes, but those in the lower income groups continue to pay more for their properties, according to the latest statistics from BetterBond, national bond originator.

BetterBond statistics represent 25% of all residential bonds being registered in the Deeds Office.

Betterbond CEO Rudi Botha says the figures show that the average home purchase price paid has declined over the past 12 months in all income categories above R35 000 a month, with the biggest decrease (2.4%) being among individuals who earn between R35 000 and R40 000 a month.

“And we believe there are two reasons for this, the first being that sellers are more willing to negotiate price at the moment. In fact, according to the latest FNB Property Barometer, some 91% of sellers are currently agreeing to an average 8% drop in their asking prices in order to secure their sale.”

He says the second reason is the mounting cost of operating and maintaining a home, thanks to rising property taxes, municipal service charges and security fees. Many higher-end homeowners are trying to contain this now by downscaling to smaller properties.

“Meanwhile, the average home purchase price paid has increased over the past 12 months in all income categories between R15 000 and R35 000 a month, with the biggest increase (8.6%) occurring among individuals who earn between R15 000 a R20 000 a month,” says Botha.

”This pattern reflects the preference that lower-income buyers have for homes in new developments where above-inflation increases in building input costs continue to drive up prices, but their maintenance costs over the first few years of homeownership are likely to be minimal.”

Botha says more importantly, though, it reflects better access to home loans. “Buyers in these income brackets are generally young, first-time purchasers who struggle to save even a 10% deposit, but we have seen the average size of their approved bonds increase by 11% over the past 12 months, compared to a 10% increase in the average purchase price.”

In other words, he says the banks are going out of their way to try to approve home loans without relaxing the strict credit criteria imposed by the National Credit Act to prevent borrowers from getting into financial trouble.

“Further evidence of this is the fact that BetterBond has been able to secure approvals for more than 80% of applications submitted over the past 12 months, compared to 76% in the previous 12 months. In addition, the number of loans granted for 100% of the property purchase price - most of which go to borrowers earning less than R15 000 a month and buying ‘affordable’ homes - has increased by 8% in the past 12 months.”

Botha says the BetterBond statistics also show increases in the percentage of loans being granted for the purchase of vacant land, for building and for home improvements.

“This indicates a bigger percentage of prospective homeowners who are acquiring land and building their own homes, as well as a bigger percentage of existing owners who are seeking to increase the value of their properties. And both trends bode well for the future of the market as they indicate consumers who are willing to invest in real estate.”

Author Property 24
Published 25 Jul 2018 / Views -

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