Why now might be a great time for property buyers.

Seeff property group share some insightful information into the big question on whether now is a good time to buy property

Should you buy property now, or wait for the interest rate to come down? As we heard from Reserve Bank governor, Lesetja Kganyago, there are no guarantees about when, or by how much, the interest rate will be coming down this year.

Once the interest rate starts coming down, buyers are also likely to face increased competition and higher prices, and now might well be a great time to buy property, says Samuel Seeff, chairman of the Seeff Property Group.

The current downmarket conditions are favourable for buyers. While the interest rate might be higher than what we would like, there is an upside for buyers, he says. The muted price growth over the last few years means that prices are at a historic low, and you are likely to be able to buy at prices similar to what they were two to three years ago.

When the property market favours sellers, more buyers enter the market and start competing for properties which drives up prices. In a buyer’s market, there are fewer buyers, more properties to choose from, and less competition.

Seeff says further that motivated sellers are now also more amenable to negotiating their asking prices. The ideal is always to “buy low and sell high”. Securing good value in the market now could offer potentially significant savings upfront (due to the lower prices), and higher long-term value growth as the market recovers.

If you wait for the interest rate to come down, you will likely have to pay more for your property, says Seeff. If you can afford to buy at the current interest rate, you could find a property below its peak valuation, and can then benefit from a reduction in your mortgage loan repayments once the interest rate starts coming down.

The predicted interest rate cuts for this year is anywhere between 0.75% and 1.0%, but only later in the year. Standard Bank predicts four cuts of 25bps each from around mid-year which could see the prime rate come down to 10.75% (from the current 11.75%) by the end of the year.

Buyers have significantly more choice in downmarket conditions, usually because there are more properties on the market to choose from. It also takes longer for properties to sell which puts sellers under pressure, especially those who need to, or want to sell right now, thus adding more buying power.

Mortgage lending conditions remain at the best levels since the 2008 GFC. Although there was a slight decline in the number of mortgage loans granted last year, we continue seeing the strongest rate of approvals since 2008. Best of all, deposit requirements are still below 10% which is the lowest in well over a decade.

Seeff says there are many advantages to buying property in the current market. That said, buyers must ensure they are financially secure. It is also recommended that buyers get a formal mortgage pre-approval done which will put them in a better negotiating position. Buyers should ensure they research the area in terms of prevailing selling prices so that they can make an informed decision.

The sooner you invest in property, the more you will benefit from the wealth accumulation factor. For example, those who bought during the last market downturn were likely able to net a handsome profit during the 2020-2022 pandemic-induced market boom. Several price records were also achieved, especially in the 2021-year as price ceilings lifted in many areas.

Writer: Gina Meintjes

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