THE CHANG­ING FACE OF BLACK property own­er­ship

Finweek English Edition - - FRONT PAGE - BY GLENDA WIL­LIAMS

Twenty years into democ­racy fi­nally sees some au­then­tic move­ment in black property own­er­ship f ig­ures. While the first 10 years fol­low­ing democ­racy lacked a sig­nif­i­cant shift in own­er­ship pat­terns among blacks, re­cent years have seen a de­cid­edly more pos­i­tive shift in this trend, specif­i­cally in the lux­ury mar­ket.

Yet, black own­er­ship is still sig­nif­i­cantly skewed rel­a­tive to pop­u­la­tion num­bers. We must not for­get that South Africa has a pop­u­la­tion of 51.8m, with 79% mak­ing up the black pop­u­la­tion. Sixty-two per­cent of South Africans re­side in ur­ban ar­eas and of these, 35% re­side in cities with pop­u­la­tions of over 1m. So, with ur­ban pop­u­la­tion in SubSa­ha­ran Africa grow­ing at 3.9%, it is in­evit-able that property own­er­ship in these ar­eas will grow. But to what ex­tent has this growth been af­fected by property trans­for­ma­tion?

Asked about the property trans­for­ma­tion is­sue, John Loos, property an­a­lyst for FNB, is prag­matic. “The trans­for­ma­tion of property own­er­ship is largely re­liant on, and driven by, eco­nomic growth and labour mar­ket so­lu­tions, and a sus­tain­able way to pro­mote home own­er­ship is through job cre­ation.” While home own­er­ship on a per capita in­come and property value ba­sis is still skewed to­wards the white group, Loos says there has been vast growth in unit num­bers (in­clud­ing low-cost hous­ing) in the black sec­tor.

Paul-Roux de Kock, an­a­lyt­ics di­rec­tor for Light­stone, also points to eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion aiding property own­er­ship, cit­ing the boom years as the pe­riod when property trans­for­ma­tion was ac­cel­er­ated. With race/ eth­nic­ity still some­what of a prickly is­sue, Light­stone uses an­a­lyt­i­cal tech­niques to gauge the eth­nic groups of property own­ers in or­der to track the progress of trans­for­ma­tion in the res­i­den­tial property sec­tor. Its find­ings re­veal that the pro­por­tion of res­i­den­tial property own­ers who would pre­vi­ously have been clas­si­fied as black in­creased from 39% to 43% over the past decade while the pro­por­tion of white own­er­ship de­creased from 45% to 40%. The pro­por­tion of own­ers pre­vi­ously clas­si­fied as coloured in­creased slightly from 10% to 11% and the Asian group re­mained pro­por­tion­ally sta­ble at 6%.

To bet­ter un­der­stand property trans­for­ma­tion, one has to look be­yond the RDP sec­tor and tra­di­tional town­ship ar­eas. Light­stone f ig­ures re­veal that while Lim­popo is still the prov­ince with the high­est pro­por­tion of black own­ers in the mid-value plus property sec­tor (R250 000 and above val­ues), it is the North­ern Cape and

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