Buy right in 2010, agency chief advises
GET ON the property ladder, but don’t aim too high at first, says Tjaart van der Walt, chief executive of the RealNet property group.
“Although returning consumer confidence is giving the property market a boost, full economic recovery is still a way off and we don’t think 2010 will be the year to make risky commitments. Now is undoubtedly a good time to buy a home because prices are down and people can afford them more easily t h a n l a s t y e a r. H o w e v e r, i t i s absolutely not the time to buy more home than you need.”
Rather, he says, those buying now should budget conservatively to ensure they will still be able to afford their bond repayments even if interest rates rise by a few percent and even if their income stays the same this year.
“This sort of planning brings peace of mind and will allow you to really enjoy your new home, instead of fretting about finances and perhaps coming to regard it as a burden or a bad buy. What is more, it is likely to make it much easier for you to obtain a home loan in the first place.”
Van der Walt says the past year has really fuelled the trend towards living more simply and carefully, which has resulted in most working people cut back their spending on cars, furniture, energy and fuel, restaurant meals and even groceries.
“And we believe this conservative approach should also apply to home purchases. Owning a home is one of the best ways to start building wealth, but consumers need to remember that wealth is generally built over time – and will actually grow better if you’re not in so much debt that you’re strapped to make the payments every month. For example, if you have extra cash, you can use it to pay off your bond faster, and grow the equity you have in the property more quickly than by relying on property price increases.”