More South Africans are leaving the suburbs – and other property trends

Property data from research and analytics group Lightstone shows that buying trends among homeowners have shifted over the past 15 years – with a clear move away from freehold properties, towards estate living and sectional title apartments.

According to Lighstone, the quick definition of a sectional title unit is a property in an undivided share of a common property. These units are known as townhouses, flats or apartments, and duet houses.

Increased security, affordability and the communal lifestyle are all alluring aspects when potential buyers consider sectional title properties, the group said.

The data shows that from 2003, there has been a slow decrease in the purchase of freehold property year on year, while estate purchases have remained consistent following a steady climb in the late 2000s.

The interesting part, Lighstone said, is the growth of the sectional title property market – up 5%.

Provincial changes

According to Lighstone’s data, by far the largest percentage of sectional title properties are sold in Gauteng.

This is attributed to the higher population density of cities and the demand for property near the business districts, said Hayley Ivins-Downes, head of sales at Lightstone.

The graphs below show how the general make-up of homes have changed in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal over the past 5 years in main areas:

Western Cape


KwaZulu Natal

When it comes to the typical size and price of sectional title units, in the Western Cape, 0-70 sqm units account for 51% of sales, 34% in Kwazulu-Natal and 36% in Gauteng.

The view of the number of bedrooms varies between the three provinces: In the Western Cape, one bedroom apartments attribute to 20% of sales and 59% of the Western Cape’s sectional title units are two bedroom units.

These figures are the highest of all three provinces. According to Ivins-Downes, potential buyers would rather compromise on size and opt for a coastal home or a view.

“Overall the South African sales for sectional title properties experienced growth in all price brackets, but Western Cape enjoyed an especially high growth in the R1.2 million – R1.6 million brackets,” Ivins-Downes said.

Read: Property firm reveals how many Sandton and Centurion residents are emigrating – and where they are going

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More South Africans are leaving the suburbs – and other property trends