The latest research into what is determining purchasing decisions within the South African property market, shows that location and affordability are far and away the biggest considerations, given the economic challenges faced by individuals and households. Despite this reality, there is still a high level of awareness that owning property is a worthwhile financial investment, and it remains a sought-after asset class.
The rising costs of fuel and electricity are playing a major role in regular South Africans’ choices of purchasing property. Not only do these two factors relate to how much disposable income there is at the end of the month, but they also determine long-term feasibility of renting or paying off a property.
One of the ways in which this is manifesting in property sales and rentals, is that smaller living spaces in well-serviced areas are proving more popular, while the appeal of larger ones in more out-of-the-way places is declining.
The trend towards scaling down on living space applies especially to first-time buyers, and is evident at developments like One on Whiteley – the newest addition of residential apartments at Melrose Arch. A smaller living space means less to maintain, fewer furnishings, consumables, supplies and services are required. Plus, it’s quick and easy to keep tidy. This leads onto the other part of the affordability consideration: time.
Property decisions aren’t being based solely on financial affordability, but also on time affordability. Growing congestion is driving down the time and distance that people are prepared to travel daily. There is a greater desire to live, work and relax in places that are close together. Lifestyle estates are one of the solutions, but they are not always affordable, so the option of living in a growth node, which offers all the essential facilities, is a great solution.
Proximity to the places where you need to go regularly, is a major consideration when deciding where to live. This links back to the value of time in our busy lives – no-one wants to spend hours every day commuting or sitting in traffic.
When deciding where to rent or buy, there is a strong desire to be close to work. So too easy access to schools if you’re thinking of starting a family, or you have children already. For younger, first-time property owners or tenants, being close to entertainment and leisure options like health clubs and places to meet is important – coffee shops, restaurants, bars, clubs etc. Both in terms of where they are located, but also where things are located within them, mixed-use developments satisfy many buyers’ requirements when it comes to location. Thanks to the scale and design of a place like Melrose Arch, everything is close together and within easy walking distance. In this instance, Melrose Arch also located near on- and off-ramps to a major highway, making it quick and easy to get into and out of, as well as around. This is why property sales and rentals keep ticking over in a place like Melrose Arch, despite the economic outlook. And why smaller, relatively more affordable living spaces in desirable locations are becoming the norm, delivering the lifestyle so many purchasers are willing to pay for – either by way of buying or renting.