End-of-year property sales

Private Property South Africa
Lisa Dewberry

With most people heading off on holiday, property professionals estimate fewer sales this time of year.

With the festive season imminent and most people taking a break soon, property purchasing begins to slow down. Property professionals estimate that over the December holidays sales of properties across South Africa drop by as much as half the usual amount.

Herschel Jawitz, CEO, Jawitz Properties, says fewer properties (by as much as 70% less in some areas), are sold over the holiday season across the country. He says December should be no better or worse than other times of the year to buy properties, but because many people take time off work to relax, there’s less interest in getting involved in the house-buying process.

“While there may be a perception that more holiday homes are bought at the coast during December, many buyers also have a perception that it is not a good time to buy as sellers at the coast ask higher prices than in off-season months. Potential buyers may get caught in the holiday hype and view properties at the coast in December, but many wait until after the festive season to buy,” says Jawitz.

He says that many law firms close over the holidays delaying processing and transfer of property. However, it has been found that some buyers may still buy in December using year-end bonuses towards deposits.

Berry Everitt, managing director, Chas Everitt International Property Group, says in December the volume of sales countrywide is usually around 50% of the volume in other months. He says mostly primary homes in major metropolitan areas are bought, and it’s a good time to buy these properties because individuals selling in December are generally serious about concluding a transaction as they may be relocating in January or by financial year end, and tend to be more willing to negotiate.

Everitt says the property market is slower in December but buyers are more likely to have less competition and view homes in a relaxed holiday atmosphere. However, he says they may not have as many homes to choose from because owners who don’t urgently need to sell may list their home only in January after their own holidays.

“Many people also prefer to wait for the new year before buying a property to see whether they get a salary increase and for regular household expenses such as insurance, medical aid and school fees to take place. These increases and paying off holiday debt may affect purchasing decisions,” says Everitt.

There’s also a change in property listings and search dynamics.

The real estate market is generally quiet in December from a buying and selling perspective with most estate agencies shut from mid-December. People are either away on vacation or enjoying quality time with family so put off buying or selling until the new year

says Simon Bray, CEO, Private Property.

This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

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