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The property market in South Africa is undergoing zero or near-zero growth, doubtless because it reflects the economy in general, and also because so many income earners are leaving the country because they believe they can do better elsewhere.

So, is it a good time to buy?

It usually makes no difference whether you buy when the market is low or when it is high. The trick is always to buy below prevailing prices.

The first consideration is why are you buying?

Somewhere to live.

If this is a first time buy, then yes, buy when the market is low.

If you have to sell in order to buy, you’ll be selling low in order to buy low, so the only benefit will be the smaller difference between the buying price and the selling price and that benefit will be reduced by the cost of selling (the transfer duty, conveyancer’s fees, moving costs etc.). So whether you change homes now or later makes little difference.

Buying to renovate and resell.

The same considerations apply as when you are buying your home. You will buy low, you’ll sell low. So, there’s no real benefit in timing. Even if you hang on to the property after renovating it. The prices may go up, but then you will pay more for your next project, so there’s no benefit in delaying your sale.

Buying to rent.

Buying now is good, because you have no intention of selling. Rental income is currently low, but if this improves, then you will be earning a better return on investment, because you bought when the market was low and will be renting when the market is high.


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