How long will your home take to sell?

Private Property South Africa
Kerry Dimmer

Given the current economic climate, here's how long it could take to sell your home.

The time it takes to sell a house in current economic conditions, is dependent on a complex number of key metrics and the interplay between them. One of those is to understand whether the real estate market is ‘hot’, being conditions that favour the seller, or ‘cold’, where buyers have the edge. Right now, the market appears pretty cold, but real estate is a notoriously cyclical industry, and the variables that have to be factored in are just as complex as the metrics that provide us with figures.

Those variables include price wanted, location, condition of house, strength of the local market, and even seasonal patterns, so while the market may appear cold, in some areas or in the case of an individual home, hot conditions might prevail.

All the experts confirm this with Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group including macro-economic and socio-political impacts; and Berry Everitt CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group highlighting that any averages that are presented should be approached with great caution because apples to apples comparisons are very rarely possible in real estate.

Everitt says this because only some time-on-market averages include properties right across the price spectrum, including luxury properties which typically take longer to sell. These averages will accordingly differ markedly from those given by companies that only sell in the lower price ranges.

For example, as pointed out by Samuel Seeff, chairman of the Seeff Property Group: “The price points plays a key role in the time that it takes to sell. In the mid-market sector of the market up to R1,5-million, where the bulk of residential activity usually sits, properties will sell much faster simply because there are more buyers. As you go up the price bands, the time that it takes to sell tends to increase because there are fewer buyers who compete for property in the R15-million price band compared to that in the R1,5-million range. When you go even further up the price ladder, you will find fewer competing.”

The need for agents

We note all these points and make it abundantly clear that the time taken to sell a property is not a reflection on an agent or agency’s performance. Without agents to provide an accurate valuation before starting the sale process, and who pave the way for swifter transactions, most sellers would not realise their best chance of selling at the best price.

Interestingly, and this is a common refrain by the majority of agents, is that sole mandated properties tend to sell far quicker, (over a median of 44.6 days according to the Pam Golding Property Group), than those sold on open mandate. High end properties tend to take far longer to sell, in some cases up to two years, in other cases, such as an in-demand apartment, within an hour.

What also needs to be considered is that in some instances, properties may have been in the hands of other agents before the final sale, and that no agent can claim therefore, that they sell homes faster than another.

Sellers control

What we can confirm is that regardless of national economic impacts, the length of time it takes to sell a house is going to depend largely on price, how quickly you want to sell, and the decisions you make about how you are going to sell it; in other words factors that you as seller, can control.

These include, among others: your choice of agent; how flexible you are in price; how willing you are to enhance sore points in your home before putting it on the market; whether you accept a sole mandate or opt for open market sale; co-operation with open days and viewing times; how accommodating you are of all offers; and most importantly, your open-mindedness towards the advice given to you by the agent.

Current timelines

Private Property approached a number of agencies to gauge the differing home sale timelines. The figures presented by voluntary participants do not account for the prevailing and different market conditions or types of homes in the various locations, nor should they be viewed as comparisons. They are also presented as recent averages over different lengths of time, which vary from agent to agent, and during a period impacted by two different interest rates, a national election, economic uncertemphasized textainty and weak investor confidence, and across the autumn and/or winter seasons.

Property groups

Chas Everitt International property group:

Eastern Cape and Garden Route: all price brackets average 108 days

Cape Town: all price brackets average 94 days

KZN: all price brackets average 94 days

Johannesburg: all price brackets average 101 days

Pretoria: all price brackets average 82 days.

Pam Golding Properties:

R4-million and below: Between 34 – 43.5 days

R4-6-million: 76.5 days

R6-R12-million: 90 days.

Specialist area agents:

RE/MAX Dazzle

Kempton Park average: 9 weeks and 4 days

Properties below R900,000: 11 weeks 2 days

R901,000 - R1,299,000: 9 weeks 3 days

R1,300,0000 - R1,699,000: 7 weeks 4 days

R1,700,000 - R1,999,000: 5 weeks 4 days

R2,000,000+: 15 weeks 4 days

RE/MAX Property Associates (Cape)

Western Cape average: 89 days.

RE/MAX Living (Cape)

Cape Town City Bowl: 85 days

Milnerton and surrounds: 80 days.

Rawson Property Groups KZN – Daphne Rhodes, Regional Sales Manager

KZN average: 68 days

Berea / Morningside / Glenwood: 60 days

Umhlanga: 61 days

Amanzimtoti (South Coast): 73 days

Phoenix (lower to middle income): 35 days.

Rawson Property Groups Western Cape – Craig Mott, Regional Sales Manager)

Western Cape average: 10 weeks

Constantia, Claremont, Durbanville, Belville, Bloubergstand: 6 weeks

Second property/holiday homes in small coastal towns/non metro: 6 months.

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