Es­tate agents ’are here to stay’

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Alis­tair An­der­son Prop­erty Writer an­der­sona@busi­nesslive.co.za

The hu­man touch still reigns supreme when it comes to sell­ing houses, says Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties CEO An­drew Gold­ing. “Peo­ple still want a warm body when they buy or sell a house, which is a highly emo­tional deal,” Gold­ing said.

The hu­man touch still reigns supreme when it comes to sell­ing houses, says Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties (PGP) CEO An­drew Gold­ing. “Peo­ple still want a warm body when they buy or sell a house, which is a highly emo­tional deal”, said Gold­ing.

He said sug­ges­tions that hu­man agents have no fu­ture are mis­placed, with 70% of suc­cess­ful house sales con­ducted us­ing tra­di­tional meth­ods in SA.

More black South Africans are en­ter­ing the res­i­den­tial mar­ket than be­fore, mak­ing up 60% of first-time buy­ers on a na­tional scale. Most of these buy­ers want to buy a house us­ing an es­tate agent, Gold­ing said.

Many tech­nol­ogy providers have said es­tate agents will be­come ob­so­lete in the next few years as they ex­pect cus­tomers to use ap­pli­ca­tions such as FNB’s nav, which al­lows an FNB cus­tomer to sell a house to an­other of the bank’s cus­tomers with­out an in­ter­me­di­ary.

Gold­ing crit­i­cised the bank’s in­no­va­tion, say­ing it does not take into ac­count the in­tri­ca­cies of a house sale.

“I’m not sure what FNB is try­ing to achieve. There is schizophre­nia around what the point of what they are do­ing is. It can hurt the in­dus­try,” he said.

Gold­ing said re­cent in­no­va­tions that are sup­posed to cut out the mid­dle per­son in house sales do not al­ways add value. Buy­ers and sell­ers still want to deal with trusted agents.

An ap­pli­ca­tion that lets them view a prop­erty in vir­tual re­al­ity or buy a prop­erty via an auc­tion may be use­ful, he said, but there still needs to be an agent to deal with dis­putes about price and other is­sues. He said he be­lieves 20% of the to­tal res­i­den­tial sales mar­ket will make use of a tech­nol­ogy app for real es­tate trans­ac­tions in the next few years.

An­other na­tional es­tate agency, Seeff Prop­er­ties, said there is space for hu­man es­tate agents and they should repack­age their ser­vices to com­pete.

“There will al­ways be those seg­ments of the mar­ket that pre­fer the abil­ity to man­age their own trans­ac­tions and plat­forms such as on­line agen­cies or ap­pli­ca­tions, but these are likely to re­main lim­ited and of no real threat to the mar­ket,” said the com­pany’s na­tional mar­ket­ing man­ager, Ted Frazer.

“We are look­ing at adopt­ing the very best tech in­no­va­tions that can sim­i­larly equip our agents to pro­vide a bet­ter real es­tate ser­vice ex­pe­ri­ence to our clients,” he said.

Com­ment­ing on mar­ket trends, Gold­ing said the hous­ing mar­ket is feel­ing the ef­fects of the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing econ­omy and po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty. “The year be­gan on an op­ti­mistic note, with high ex­pec­ta­tions of a pos­i­tive eco­nomic out­look as a re­sult of [Cyril] Ramaphosa’s elec­tion as SA’s new pres­i­dent. How­ever, as the full ex­tent of the eco­nomic cost and fall­out from years of state cap­ture be­came ap­par­ent, busi­ness and con­sumer con­fi­dence slumped.”

House price in­fla­tion slowed from 4.72% in De­cem­ber 2017 to 3.99% at the end of Septem­ber 2018, ac­cord­ing to re­search car­ried out by PGP.

An­drew Gold­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.