How to take advantage of trends in the property sector to wisely buy your first property (home / investment) in an area that’s liveable and where property prices will increase over time.

By Jacques van Embden, Managing Director at Blok

  1. What, in your view, are the best pieces of advice for people wanting to buy their first property?
    Check your affordability, both in the capital purchase as well as in the monthly serviceability. Getting your purchase wrong will cost you money (as selling has many frictional costs to consider). Use great websites like South Africa’s own Ooba to ensure you know about the transfer fees and transfer duty (included in the price if you buy from a developer) and then ensure you have enough spare income to cover some increase in the current lending rates. Whilst I believe they will remain well below historic levels, they will rise in the year ahead.
  2. What are the fundamentals first time buyers should consider when viewing properties?
    Firstly, start off by looking at the community in which you will be living. The community and the surrounds will significantly impact your quality of life. Start there before you even start looking at the apartment, and then, once you are happy with the community, look at the building and see if you like it, making sure to check on the building’s amenities, etc.
  3. Why should first time buyers consider micro and studio apartments?
    As an international trend, in great urban living places, people are more interested in getting into the top lifestyle suburbs and the broader eco-system than they are about the size of their home. The facilities and living options available in an urban setting more than compensate for a smaller private home space. This is being combined with modern buildings (the most likely place to find a studio / micro) which, when well designed, include excellent amenities like rooftop pools, delis, gyms, and access into the community that lives in the building as well, meaning this new product market is set for major growth. Wherever there is a great modern urban space to live, compact well designed units should start to excel, which indicates that the demand for smaller units will progress a further trend for such apartments to be built in Sea Point and further into Cape Town.

    These types of compact homes require focused, human centric intelligent design – all of the items that are functional have to be space intelligent while still delivering on great aesthetic, touch and feel to ensure that while it works, it is still pleasing to have in your home and use.

    And when we consider how we expect the property price of these apartments to perform over the next 10 years, “Small home, best address” sums it up best. Being the most cost-effective unit in the most desirable area of South Africa ensures buyers will experience strong growth both in capital and income. The finite nature of the Atlantic Sea Board also ensures that supply remains constrained while demand continues to grow.

  4. We all know the phrase, “Location! Location! Location!” Is location really so important and why?
    Yes! Yes! Yes! Property is a long-term holding asset, meaning that you have to be sure that where your home / investment is located is an area that will consistently be in demand – or that you will love it (if you are buying to live!). If you are not sure, then your investment could disappoint or you won’t enjoy living in your new home.
  5. How can/what should first times buyers consider in order to save as much as possible when buying their first property?
    Ensure the building has modern appliances, fittings, fixtures, and infrastructure. Yes, this is the boring hard to find out stuff, however it is what ends up costing you money – an ancient geyser can be so expensive to run and has an overly negative impact on the environment. Efficient and environmentally designed and fitted homes can easily save 50% of the ongoing monthly costs for water, electricity, and waste. So, making sure your building has covered these will be good for your pocket and for the Earth.

    For first time home buyers and first time home investors (second properties), here is why you should seriously consider investing in these types of apartments.

    For the first time home buyers, it’s all about a financially efficient first home in the best suburb to live in. You might gain 20-30% more space in another area but you will have increased cost of living in terms of time and travel, and you will not be able to access the incredible quality of living available in Sea Point.

    For investors, this is simply one of the best options available in the market. To combine the defensive position of the most in demand areas in the country with very strong yields has never been available previously, and this combination is sure to drive demand and therefore pricing, ensuring a brilliant property investment.

  6. Are there any specifics in terms of layout, design, innovative furnishings that these apartments should incorporate?
    Consider buildings that cleverly use space. When you go small, you never have enough space, so check if you can store bags above the cupboards, or get drawers / storage under your bed. Has the kitchen used all the space efficiently so you can have both the wine and the whisky glasses you love so much?