Slower growth in black property ownership

Black property ownership in the luxury residential market has more than doubled to 7.8 percent from 3.3 percent over the past 10 years, but this change is yet to be reflected in the rest of the property market, according to data collated by Lightstone.

The luxury property market is defined as properties valued at R1.5 million or more.

Andrew Watt, the managing director of Lightstone, said yesterday that this was clearly attributable to the rising spending power of the middle- to upper-income black consumer.

However, Watt stressed that this originated from a small base where the volumes remained marginal.

Watt added that while the profile of black property ownership in South Africa had changed over the past 10 years, this adjustment had not been as dramatic as many would have expected, with the property market slump having affected sentiment.

"For example, in 2003 only 3.3 percent of luxury properties were black owned and while that figure has more than doubled over the past 10 years, it still means that less than 8 percent of these approximately 400 000 luxury properties are owned by black people," he said.

By contrast, Lightstone's latest annual property report found that overall black ownership of the South African residential market had only grown to 42 percent from 37 percent over the past 10 years.

Watt said while growth in the black market was noteworthy given the significant general property market slowdown since 2008, it was clear this slowdown had also had a marked effect on the level of black ownership too.

"The South African property market has been through a difficult period over the last five years but it is heartening to see that even with the introduction of the National Credit Act and more stringent lending conditions, we are continuing to see transformation in the owned property market."
Watt added that when looking at the market as a whole across all race groups, it was interesting to note that female-only ownership had increased over the past 10 years and now even slightly outstripped male-only ownership.

This had resulted in the market now being fairly evenly divided between female-only, male-only and properties co-owned by both genders, he said.

Lightstone, a provider of comprehensive data, analytics and systems on property, automotive and business assets, said the highest levels of female-only ownership were evident in the black community, while the Asian community had the largest levels of co-ownership.

Excluding the affordable/ township market, female-only ownership within the black community was in line with trends in the white community.

Watt said some interesting trends were also noticeable with housing finance, adding that black homeowners in the R250 000 plus market were slightly more likely to access finance than owners of other race groups.

"Black owners that do bond also tend to bond for a higher proportion of the purchase price (92 percent) than white owners that bond (83 percent)," he said.

(Business Report)

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