Serious buyers still to be found

11 Apr 2008

Priced correctly, sellers can still expect to sell within four weeks even though market activity in Cape Town's northern suburbs is down by comparison with this time in 2007.

Speaking from her Bellville office, Carina Nieuwoudt, principal of Realty 1 International Property Group Northern Suburbs, says there are still many serious buyers in the wings.

Neither desperate nor prepared to part with anything more than the absolute minimum, they are well-positioned to step into the breach of sellers whose circumstances have changed or taken a turn for the worse, she notes.

However, she adds, there's no doubt that the current "uneasy" economy, which is being exacerbated by an unreliable power supply, is affecting the property market in general.

"We're receiving feedback that some people are no longer prepared to buy because of the uncertain times lying ahead of us. Aside from their obvious concerns such as high petrol prices, inflation and political uncertainty, they are also worrying about how the cities are going to be able to service their debts post-2010. The general feeling is that rate payers are already taxed to the limit."

However, while many prospective buyers have accordingly put their decisions on hold, others are refusing to be intimidated by "unreasonable sellers" and external economic and political factors.

"Property prices throughout the Northern Suburbs have tripled in some instances since the boom began in 2003. Since the beginning of 2007, though, price growth has slowed and buyers who know they have the upper hand have become immune to selling prices derived from 'mandate buying' by agents or unrealistic expectations on the part of sellers."

She adds that the upward trend of the interest rate over the past 18 months, while not pleasant, had served to cool down a market that had moved out of the reach of the ordinary man in the street. "The fact that there was no rate increase in January did not improve the situation, but it also didn't exacerbate it."

According to Strepies van Wyk, principal of Realty 1 International Property Group Cape Agulhas, which lies 225km south of the Mother City, the market is all about serious sellers and serious buyers. This applies across the board, throughout the towns of Bredasdorp, Struisbaai, L'Agulhas and Arniston, which nestle within the Overberg district.

Current economic factors aside, she's expecting 2008 to be a good year on the back of various new developments that will appeal particularly to first time buyers, pensioners and investors.

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