The most popular suburbs for buying your first home in South Africa

Data analytics company Lightstone has published new data looking at first-time buyers in the residential market.

The group’s data shows that first-time homebuyers are entering the residential property market in the highest numbers in the R700,000 to R1.5 million valuation bands as opposed to less expensive valuation bands.

Lightstone’s head of Sales, Hayley Ivins Downs says there are many reasons behind this trend, including:

  • The correction in house prices, which has created opportunities for first-time buyers to be more ambitious;
  • Younger people are saving for longer before committing to homeownership;
  • Parents are supporting their offspring, helping them to buy-up;
  • Formative salary levels are growing quicker than inflation.

“Many buyers are opting away from RDP developments in or near townships because they want to be closer to work and travel less,” she said.

The highest number of first-time buyers in Cape Town was in the R1.5 million to R3 million band, while in Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria it was in the R700,000 -R1 million band.

“While the data reinforces the historical relative premium on property in Cape Town, it clearly demonstrates how Pretoria outscored the other major centres when it comes to numbers of first-time buyers – and by some distance.”

Most popular suburbs 

Langa (112 purchases) and Belhar (91 purchases) lead the way for first time home buyers in Cape Town in 2020 – suggesting black buyers are increasingly moving into property ownership.

Other suburbs in the top ten included Plumstead, Observatory, Sea Point, Wynberg, Rondebosch and Claremont, all located in the southern suburbs, with Sea Point on the Atlantic seaboard and Ottery on the edge of the southern suburbs making up the balance.

In 2010, Belhar led the first-time buyers table, along with seven other suburbs appearing in both lists. The only newcomers in 2020 were Langa and Ottery, with Delft and Strandfontein Village dropping out.

In Johannesburg, Kensington (60 purchases) directly east of the city centre was the first choice in 2020, up from fifth in 2010. Oakdene and Orange Grove were next.

First-time buyers have consistently been drawn to the same suburbs in Durban, with nine appearing in both the 2010 and 2020 top ten lists.

Bulwer (80 purchases), located adjacent next to the Durban CBD, was the leading choice in the period January to September 2020.

Other suburbs to feature in both periods include Morningside, Reservoir Hills, Musgrave, Durban Central, Essenwood, Montclair, Newlands East and Umbilo. The new entrant in 2020 was Windermere, which replaced Earlsfield.

In Pretoria, Moreleta Park (147 purchases) is comfortably ahead of the other leading city-based suburbs. Moreleta Park is among the popular suburbs south and east of the Pretoria CBD, which include fellow top ten choices, Faerie Glen and Equestria.

The increased sales in Pretoria could reflect people moving into the city from surrounding rural areas as security concerns mount, changing university lodging rules, many new flats and residential developments are coming on stream, and state schools are plentiful and less expensive than many in Johannesburg.

The areas where people are moving to are centrally located, with hospitals, malls and road networks within easy reach.

The impact of Covid-19 and the lockdowns are perhaps evident in the tables below, subject to the backlog being cleared at the Deeds Office.  They show total first-time purchases dropping to 2,195 in 2020 from 4,992 in 2010 – a drop of some 55%.


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The most popular suburbs for buying your first home in South Africa