Reflecting on the 2018 Property Market

It’s hard to believe another year is almost over.  It’s definitely been a challenging year in the property market, amongst other things.  As we predicted 12 months ago, there was a sharp decline in the number of buyers with an appetite to purchase.  This was in stark contrast to the increase of property owners who decided to sell in a tough economic climate.

As with all markets, when the supply increases and the demand decreases, there is downward pressure on pricing.  We’re fortunate that our local property market is resilient, but it has nevertheless felt the pressure this year.

Selling times increased, buyers became more shrewd in determining what represents good value, and as a result, only the sellers who responded to the market managed to sell their properties.

The good news is that there are still buyers out there.  In fact, this is the absolute best time to invest in property.  Serious sellers have had no choice but to meet the market by reducing their list prices, and where fair offers have been made a sale has been concluded.

We expect the current trend to continue until the elections next year.  We have, however, seen sales volumes start to increase in the last 2 to 3 months.  That’s a really good sign that there is market confidence when the pricing is correct.  There is also more optimism and many are starting to look beyond the elections, which are not far off at all.

We’ve seen the strong marketing and selling strategies are more vital than ever in helping a seller achieve the best price the market will pay.  The year has also highlighted flat fee estate agencies.  These companies provide an alternative to full-service estate agents and it’s more apparent than ever that, for any agent to survive, they need to justify their value.  That’s good for the customers and good for the industry.

Ultimately customers deserve a choice.  As long as everyone understands the pros and cons of each option, they can make an informed decision as to what’s best for them.  What we’ve seen again this year is that skilled agents with solutions achieve the best results for sellers, especially in a tough market.  That’s why it’s possible to achieve multiple offers and full price sales for those at the top of their game.

Next year will certainly have its’ challenges.  The sooner the election is over the sooner everyone can move on with their futures.  South Africans are generally optimistic people, and I have no doubt that quarters 3 and 4 of 2019 will mark a strong recovery in the market as everyone gets on with the new norm, whatever that may be.

For the shrewd, the next few months will still present some outstanding investment opportunities.  Take advantage of the narrowing window of opportunity.  As the year winds down it’s a great time to reflect on what we can be grateful for.  Bring on 2019!

 

Steve Caradoc-Davies

Principal, Harcourts Platinum

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