"There has been no better time in the past 30 years to invest in residential
property than right now."

This is the view of Ronald Ennik, an executive director of the nationwide
Pam Golding Properties real estate group and managing director of its
R4-billion-sales-a-year Gauteng division.

"Coming after a 10-year period of sustained growth - the likes of which has
not been seen in at least the last 50 years, and in which home values
generally quadrupled - the current downcycle is now at, or very near, its
lowest point and I have no doubt that the turnaround is imminent.

"The tide of panic that swept the market in the wake of the recent steady
interest rate rise, the implementation of the National Credit Act (NCA)
and other contributing factors has subsided. Prices have come down quite
steeply and there are now more homes on offer - at really good value - than
at any other time in the past," says Ennik.

"There are great opportunities right now to buy at a significant discount,
and buyers who find the home that suits their needs and lifestyle should
seize the opportunity now rather than wait hopefully - along with 50 000
others - for further price drops."

Ennik says the residential property trading environment that will come with
the imminent upturn will have less volatility and greater stability, given

* the NCA has now bedded down and the new culture of lending and
borrowing that has set in will result in fewer repossessions

* most people who burnt their fingers have re-scheduled their debt and
will be more careful in future
* the level of professionalism of estate agents will be far higher as
a result of the new training requirements which went into effect last month
in terms of the Estate Agents Affairs Act.

What about the interest rate scenario?

"Another interest rate rise at this week's Reserve Bank MPC meeting - should
there, in fact, be one - will not alter the picture I have painted," says

"The fact is that the country's economic foundations and outlook are so
strong that the residential property market will fly when the turnaround
takes hold.

"I share the view of the chairman of the JSE, Humphrey Borkum, that the
strength and resilience of the South African economy should never be
underestimated - and there is no question that the country right now has
more economic ducks in a row going into the impending upcycle than at any
other stage in the past.

"For instance, tax collections by SARS have never been higher. So much so
that current and planned expenditure by Government on infrastructure -
including power generation, road and rail networks, airports, housing, water
storage, and 2010 Fifa World Cup-related projects - is unprecedented at

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