A closer look at the increase of female property ownership in SA

Lately the media has been buzzing about the significant increase of women owning property in South Africa, and with some months having passed since the initial news broke we now have a better picture of how this women looks and what she’s up to - metaphorically speaking of course!


Let us first take a look at the statistics revealed that got the property market talking in the first place:


FNB’s Residential Property Barometer, which reviews activity in the residential housing market on a quarterly basis, revealed that 20% of buyers in the last quarter of 2005 were single women, up from 15 percent in the previous quarter. And according to FNB, 25% of all women earning between R60 000 and R200 000 per annum already own a property.


ABSA, which is one of South Africa’s largest mortgage lenders, said up that up to 60% of all the homes on their book are either solely or jointly owned by females.


A study done by Mortgage SA which reviewed bonds registered from June 2005 – June 2006 showed that women buyers account for R5.5-billion of approved home loan applications, with one in four home loans granted in the first half of 2006 going to women.


Standard Bank economists have revealed that the percentage of female participants in the residential property investment market increased from 28% to 37% between 2000 and 2005.


The type of women buying property

Up until recently, most women who owned property were about 40 years old, this trend is fast changing however and institutions such as Mortgage SA have found that the age bracket of women investing in property is rapidly moving towards the late twenties/early thirties. They are largely single, entrepreneurial and career focused and if you add to this findings by Yvonne de Leeuw of property educational institution YDL, you’ll get a personality profile that fits the growing property market like glove as women tend to be more disciplined and methodical.


The type of property they’re buying

Given the ‘single / young / entrepreneur’ profile of the women buying currently, it’s no wonder the trend for housing in this sector leans towards high security complexes and units that are low maintenance.  On the investment side, Standard Bank released figures recently that showed a rise in women choosing to purchase property in the buy-to-let market. 


What caused the influx?

There are a number of socio-political factors that have contributed to the rise of women in the property market.  The first that comes to mind is the emerging black middle class since the ending of apartheid in 1994.  Spin offs from this are factors such as an increase in the education and employment of women and legislation change where customary law and apartheid legal restrictions no longer prohibit women from owning property.  Women are also far more independent, and following trends seen across the world, they are getting married later and first focusing on careers and investing in their own security for the future.


The property market itself has also opened doors for women with the property boom seeing a rapid drop in lending rates and the omission of transfer duties for properties under R500 000 increasing accessibility of property ownership significantly.


What are the results of this phenomenon?

The first flag to be raised in victory is that of economic empowerment as the property market creates an accessible arena in which to foster this healthy and important change.  Once a woman purchases a home she also automatically increases her access to more bank-owned finance which opens up the world to her in many ways. We are sure to see an increase in entrepreneurial projects and small business ventures as well as micro-enterprise development and employment creation.  In terms of investments, FNB has already seen a growing number of women opting for long-term investments and fixed or notice deposits with women accounting for 53% of their total investment book.  Developers are also feeling the sway in the market as the increase in demand for high-density living is shaping the supply portfolio.


“I for one am very positive about the rise of women owning property in South Africa” says Valdy Brinkman, MD of Engel & Völkers South Africa “not only is it a very positive reflection on the property market, but it also signifies the great strides our country has taken to becoming more free and democratic society.”


As the face of Africa changes, so we see her personality emerge in various industries and look forward to learning more about her and she takes her place of prominence on the world’s stage.

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