More South Africans are becoming first-time homebuyers: here’s where they are buying

 ·2 Apr 2022

More South Africans are buying homes for the first time, as indicated by an uptick over the past four years in the number of properties transferred to new buyers compared to repeat buyers, says Mike Lehabe, head of financial services at Lightstone.

Lightstone reports that the percentage of first-time buyers has reached 37% of all purchases recorded on its platform in 2021.

Lehabe said that the historically low-interest rates which the SARB introduced in response to the economic fallout of Covid-19 encouraged buyers into the market.

The rise in first-time buyers in percentage terms is in contrast to the slow downward drift of the number of transfers between 2015 and 2019.

“The 2021 jump in numbers reflects the pent-up demand playing out as lockdown conditions eased,” said Lehabe.

The number of people buying a house for a second or third time (repeat buyers) has shown a downward trend since 2015.

Lightstone reported that the volume of bonded transfers for first-time and repeat buyers has increased since 2015.

“First-time buyers are more likely to bond than repeat buyers, with the percentage of bonded transfers increasing sharply from 2017 and peaking at 72% in 2021,” noted Lehabe.

Coastal locations

According to Lightstone, the Western Cape has been the most preferred option since 2014, and in 2021, the market began recovering from the lockdowns in 2020.

“Favourable interest rates coupled with remote office working and semigration are becoming a more prominent feature of the residential market. The Western Cape’s reputation for better-run municipalities also contributes to the region’s pull.”

Inland locations

As a significant commercial hub, Gauteng saw the majority of inland purchases.

“It is worth noting the spike in 2021 as first-time buyers took advantage of the historically favourable interest rates and the market adjusted for 2020 when hard lockdown brought house sales to a trickle for a while.”

Read: Here are the new rental and property rules proposed for South Africa

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