Many new trends have emerged within the real estate sector as a result of the national lockdown, one of which is the increase in multi-generational living. No longer able to afford the costs of living alone, many have combined households to share the living expenses.
According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, this increase in multi-generational living can be seen across the country. “What this means for the property market is that demand for stand-alone rental properties is shrinking and the demand for properties with semi-detached flatlets is on the rise,” he explains.
Elaborating on this trend, the rental team operating in Alberton and Germiston at RE/MAX All Stars, including Despina de Necker, Alta Botes, and Charlotte Oberholtzer, explains that Covid-19 has definitely impacted the housing industry and forced a lot of people to look for more affordable accommodation. “There is still a very high demand for rental properties, especially in the lower price brackets, but a lot of clients are downscaling due to the current economic situation,” they report.
Sharing a similar experience in her market, Barbara Larney, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Town and Country in Hermanus, says that a number of her clients are merging households because of the tough economic situation. “As assisted living costs are very expensive, our older clients are choosing to move in with their children and grandchildren, combining the household by selling their homes and downscaling and building their own private in-law suite on one plot,” she states.
Beyond the financial pressure to downscale, Deon de Swardt, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Oaktree in Stellenbosch, adds that sellers in his area are moving to be closer to their relatives. “The value of being close to family and the effect of being isolated has had a huge effect on people’s priorities when it comes to relocation. We had numerous sellers in Stellenbosch relocate to Gauteng to be closer to family they left behind. We are also experiencing tenants moving away from Stellenbosch because they would rather work from family homes in surrounding areas,” he explains.
As restrictions continue to ease and we enter the post-lockdown period, Goslett predicts that this trend in multi-generational living will continue for some time. “It will take a while for the economy to recover to a point where individuals can afford to live on their own once more. I predict that homes with flatlets will continue to be in high demand. Even if the homeowner does not share the home with family, the flatlet offers an affordable rental opportunity to those on a limited budget and can bring in a small additional income for the homeowner. Those who can afford to make the addition to their home are likely to add substantial value to their property,” Goslett concludes.