First-Time Buyers Have To Face Reality

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

The days of getting the property you want when you want it are over. First-time buyers have to realise that credit comes at a price, if and when they are granted this luxury.Although every generation may believe that things are tough and forging a life, finding a job and buying a home is virtually impossible, the first-time buyer of today really does face an uphill battle.House prices soared in the early part of this century and anyone who was planning to wait before getting on to the property ladder may have simply missed the bus. In many areas, particularly the coastal regions, the prices of homes has risen to such an extent that many first-time buyers can simply not afford to live there. While this may not have been a problem when times were good, now that the bottom has fallen out of the market and house prices have dropped, sellers have found themselves in a bit of a predicament. Unable to sell to locals who still can’t afford to pay inflated prices, they have been left virtually reliant on the second-home market, which is still struggling to recover. The fact that the banks have changed their policy regarding the granting of bonds and now require a hefty deposit before they will consider opening the purse strings has added to the problem. It may be argued that the youngsters of today expect too much, too quickly. Many want what their parents have, forgetting that it took their mothers and fathers years to get where they are in property terms. Attempting to invest in a million-Rand property when you are in your early 20s is often not only unrealistic, it is also extremely unlikely that you will be able to earn enough to qualify for a bond. While the thought of living in a studio apartment in a city may not seem ideal, it does at least get a foot on the first rung of the property ladder and a clever investment can pave the way for future real estate success.The credit boom raised expectations to all-time highs. During that time banks were literally throwing money at all and sundry and items such as expensive cars, high fashion and all the latest gadgets were often just a credit application away. Spare a thought for the younger generation; it must be pretty hard to accept that you can no longer have what you want the second that you want it and the realisation that some things have to wait until you can afford them must hurt.The reality of the situation, and let’s face it it’s not a bad philosophy to follow, is that these days you have to prove that you can not only afford the item you so desperately want, but you have sufficient means to pay back all monies owned.It remains to be seen if the banks are going to relax the lending criteria and start granting more bonds, however given that the country is now governed by the National Credit Act, it can be said with a fair amount of certainty that no one is ever going to witness the credit carefree days of yesteryear. It’s a cold harsh reality of life – if you want something, particularly property, you are going to have to make sacrifices and save for the dream.Credit gave false aspirations to the youth…

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