House sales on the in­crease

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

SE­EFF Prop­er­ties’ res­i­den­tial sales for July to Oc­to­ber 2009 were a marked 54.3 per­cent up on the same pe­riod last year, and the num­ber of units sold by the agency last month was 133 per­cent higher than the num­ber of units sold dur­ing Oc­to­ber 2008, says Se­eff Prop­er­ties chair­man Sa­muel Se­eff.

“Mas­sive in­creases in sales could be put down to a num­ber of fac­tors. Without a doubt, the lower in­ter­est rates have made hous­ing more af­ford­able. Cou­pled with that, banks are now start­ing to de­crease their loan to value cri­te­ria and the pent up de­mand over the past 29 months since the in­tro­duc­tion of the Na­tional Credit Act has con­verted many peo­ple from mar­ket watch­ers to par­tic­i­pants.

“We be­lieve this trend is on­go­ing, but al­though you would nor­mally ex­pect prices to move up quite quickly, there is still a glut of prop­er­ties that needs to be sold so we think prices will re­main rel­a­tively sta­ble un­til af­ter the World Cup, af­ter which we ex­pect them to start mov­ing up again.”

Se­eff says the agency’s West­ern Cape Oc­to­ber sales fig­ures were al­most 80 per­cent higher than dur­ing Oc­to­ber 2008. Top per­form­ers were False Bay, Plet­ten­berg Bay, At­lantic seaboard and south­ern sub­urbs.

False Bay li­censee Clive Hingston says July to Oc­to­ber had gen­er­ated re­mark­able re­sults for them in sales, com­pared to 2008.

“We sold 16 units worth R17 978 mil­lion from July to Oc­to­ber 2008 and in the same pe­riod this year we sold 42 units worth R54 420m.

Hingston at­tributes the agency’s suc­cess to sev­eral rea­sons: many smaller com­peti­tors were forced to close their doors; and the ac­qui­si­tion of many highly skilled agents, two of whom con­cluded more than six deals in their first two months of op­er­a­tion.

“Most im­por­tant, we have been suc­cess­ful in coun­selling sell­ers to un­der­stand the cur­rent mar­ket and to adapt their pric­ing ac­cord­ingly. Also, the banks have re­alised that re­lax­ing the re­quire­ments to ob­tain bond fi­nanc­ing stim­u­lates the prop­erty mar­ket.”

Ian Slot of Se­eff ’s At­lantic Seaboard re­gion says al­though prop­erty prices are not go­ing up, the sense that they are go­ing to come down any fur­ther has cer­tainly gone and buy­ers are now pre­pared to com­mit. Sell­ers also ap­pear to have learned over the past year that they need to re­main rea­son­able in their price ex­pec­ta­tions, so there is qual­ity stock avail­able at fair mar­ket prices.

Se­eff Plet­ten­berg Bay’s sales fig­ures for July to Oc­to­ber this year to­talled R58.1m com­pared to un­der R10m for the same pe­riod last year.

Se­eff has sold the two high­est priced prop­er­ties in Plet­ten­berg Bay this year, one for R16m and an­other for R15.85m, says li­censee Kevin En­gels­man. An­other two prop­er­ties have re­cently been sold for more than R8m.

“The ma­jor rea­son for our suc­cess has been well-priced homes in up-mar­ket, sought-af­ter ar­eas. The buy­ers of high priced prop­er­ties have all been South Africans who re­alised the mar­ket has bot­tomed out and value for money sec­ond homes are good in­vest­ments.”

Se­eff south­ern sub­urbs’ li­censee Andy Todd says the branch’s turnover for Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber 2009 was dou­ble the turnover for Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber 2008 – R121m and 57 sales com­pared to R69m and 33 sales.

“Some other in­ter­est­ing anom­alies are that show­house num­bers in the area de­creased from 2008 to 2009 from an av­er­age of 300 a week to 260. Agents re­port there is a stock short­age in cer­tain ar­eas of the south­ern sub­urbs – a far cry from the ex­cess num­bers of prop­er­ties on the mar­ket last year,” Todd says.

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