The next generation is ready for the market

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that certain areas throughout the country are seeing high numbers of buyers under the age of 30 years old entering the market.

“While Generation X consumers, who are between 31 and 45 years old, are still the most active in the property market, younger generation consumers are making their presence felt.”

According to Lightstone, a property statistics and information provider, there are areas around the country - such as Lonehill in Gauteng and Woodstock in the Western Cape for example - where more than half of the recent buyers have been between the ages of 18 and 35 years old. “While obtaining finance is still challenging for many want-to-be homeowners, more and more of the younger generation consumers are placing an exceptionally high value on property ownership and are making the necessary changes in their lifestyle to achieve their homeownership goals. We are seeing the Generation Y buyers taking over the reins from the previous generation and driving the market forward,” says Goslett.

Goslett notes that with interest rates still favourable and property prices on the rise, many younger buyers are realising the importance of getting into the property market sooner rather than later. “Property prices are increasing throughout the country and the longer buyers wait, the harder it will be to get into the market. Supply of available properties is dwindling, which is pushing demand up, and, as a result, prices are going up. Younger buyers are doing whatever they can in order to buy a property before their dream of home ownership becomes increasingly more difficult to achieve,” says Goslett.

While Generation X buyers account for approximately 18.74 million South African consumers, Generation Y buyers account for a much larger demographic of the population, making up around 28.4 million consumers who are now of age to purchase a property. “The fact that this larger generation of buyers is now ready to buy property is excellent news for the economy and more specifically the residential property market. The young up-and-coming professionals of Generation Y are making a particularly large difference to the property market in areas with high numbers of sectional title units and homes within the entry-level price brackets. This demographic of buyer is interested in low maintenance, lock-up-and-go properties that suit their on-the-go lifestyle,” says Goslett.

He adds that Generation Y, or millennial buyers as they are also known, are tech-savvy consumers who are able to access a vast amount of information at the touch of a button. As a result, this generation is aware of the fact that waiting any longer to buy a home would only affect them negatively as the market has transitioned to favour sellers. The market continues to move forward and gain momentum, so those with access to finance are jumping in before prices get too high.

“Having witnessed the effects of recession, Generation Y buyers are a lot more cautious than their predecessors, and want to safeguard their investments against similar events in the future. This resulted in many holding out for the market to improve. Now that they have witnessed the turn around and subsequent improvement in the market, they now have the confidence to proceed and make their property ownership dream a reality,” says Goslett. “Younger consumers are currently very optimistic about the prospect of owning property. Although a large number are still either renting or living with their parents to save money and establish a sound financial footing before purchasing a home, many have grown tired paying off someone else’s bond and see more sense in paying off their own and owning an asset,” he concludes.

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