What is next for the market?

In her position as general manager of the Western Cape Institute of Estate Agents, Dianne Brock, is continually being queried for her forecasts.

"Right now" says Brock "we are picking up data through PropStats that shows that the traditional seasonal upswing is again a reality: spring always brings with it a new crop of house buyers and this year we are seeing increased activity, particularly in the entry level to R1,5 million bracket. The more expensive homes are still difficult to sell, especially as so many of their owners, despite extensive media coverage on the subject, have not accepted today's lower market prices."

Looking at the bigger picture, Brock said that after attending several sessions on the state of the market, she agrees with those economists such as John Loos of FNB (the keynote speaker at the Institute's recent AGM), who are saying that there will be no significant upturn in house prices for three years.

"Here, again, however, there are figures which indicate that the worst may now over – while growth may be insignificant, the likelihood of a further big drop in prices can, I think now be discounted. With national house price increases at 5,1% we are, at last, seeing prices more or less holding steady against inflation. This suggests that now could be a good time to buy.
From the estate agents' viewpoint, added Brock, the current scenario is "quite promising" because, with the total number of registered agents in SA now reduced from 86000 to 25 000, competent agents are finding that they can maintain a reasonable turnover.

"In many instances," said Brock, "due to fewer active agents in the market, competent, professional agents are now actually selling more units than they did in the so-called boom times – but they have to work harder for them."

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