House sales on the increase
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.