First-time buyers active in Witbank property market

Low interest rates and relatively high rentals are prompting first-time buyers in Witbank to take the plunge and invest in their own homes.
Monthly bond repayments are now on a par with rentals here, says RealNet’s area specialist Sharlene Doogan. “Young buyers are consequently deciding to acquire homes of their own and are targeting townhouses priced at around R500 000. Rentals for such units are in the region of R5000 per month.”
She adds that young buyers who cannot afford to buy property on their own are forming partnerships. “Friends or siblings club together to qualify for bonds,” she says.
“For many youngsters this is the only way to get on the property ladder and start building wealth - but we advise them to consider and thoroughly discuss future options such as how and when they will dispose of the joint property and to draw up written agreements. And of course, their relationship should be strong enough to weather the responsibilities of joint ownership,” she says.
Homes in the lower price segment are also finding buyers among locals who are downgrading because of affordability issues. “The economy is still tight and homeowners under financial pressure are selling larger homes and opting to buy less expensive property such as townhouses, which have the added benefit of lower maintenance costs.”
Demand for family homes in the R850 000 to R1,2m price bracket has decreased, while the top end of the market has slowed down considerably, says Doogan. “Investors are now largely absent  - they are subdued by market uncertainty and seem to be waiting on the sidelines until there are clearer indications of what direction the market will take.
“But the current market in Witbank certainly offers opportunities for owner-occupiers who realise that property represents a sound long-term investment.”
Issued by RealNet

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