2ND FHA Q&A – Real Estate and Covid-19 – Cape Town Property Players’ insights on the industry under lockdown

2ND FHA Q&A – Real Estate and Covid-19 – Cape Town Property Players’ insights on the industry under lockdown

FHA asked 4 key players in the property industry to reveal their insights and opinions on the real estate market during and beyond COVID-19.

See what they had to say in this special feature:

 

MARGIE MACKENZIE – Cape Waterfront Estates

1) How have you experienced the Nationwide Lockdown to have impacted the property market? 

This has been a watershed moment for all Property Practitioners to revisit the way our business is run and to look at efficiencies. Effective use of Digital media is becoming critical in showcasing property which is our focus. The speed and clarity with which one can communicate using social media is invaluable but unfortunately nothing replaces interpersonal contact and we look forward to meeting up with our buyers anxiously awaiting viewing appointments post lockdown.

 

2) How have you adapted/innovated to continue to work during the Lockdown?

Virtual tours and beautiful photography of our listings enable buyers to “walk through homes” from the comfort of their armchairs. Zoom meetings with clients has also been invaluable. We are also continually exploring new innovative online global marketing platforms to showcase our properties.

 

3) Do you foresee any long-term/lasting consequences of the Lockdown on the way the property industry functions?

In the short term the social distancing will affect the way we interact with our clients but remain hopeful that in the long-term we will return to industry as before. Digitization of the industry will be the biggest long-term transformation.

 

4) Give us one positive takeaway that the Lockdown has brought you to realise

With the bond interest rate being at a historic all time low due to Covid 19 it is becoming cheaper to buy in certain areas than to rent. This will provide a stimulus in the market from the bottom up. In addition, with the undervalued ZAR, foreign buyers who have been waiting to buy have been contacting us with renewed interest. I predict, based on similar cycles in the property market over the last 40 years of my experience that we are going to experience a major upswing in sales. For the savvy investor now is the time to buy.

 

NICK GAERTNER – Knight Frank

1) How have you experienced the Nationwide Lockdown to have impacted the property market? 

While we are still receiving interest and providing clients with assistance, the market as a whole has come to a complete standstill. With the Deeds Office being closed, property transactions are not able to register. Concluded deals made in the weeks leading up to lockdown are therefore stuck in the process of being transferred from Sellers to the Purchasers.

The rental market is also taking significant strain as many tenant’s incomes are being heavily impacted. This has a knock-on effect to landlords who require the rental income to operate their respective businesses, pay operating costs, and mortgages. – As we enter the second month of lockdown, people will start to significantly feel the backlash of having businesses closed and not being able to operate.

There have however been some positives to take out of the situation. We have seen the Reserve Bank cut the Repo Rate to its lowest on record. This is an effort to stimulate the economy and will increase many people’s affordability as borrowing becomes less expensive. People with linked-interest loans will receive significant relief, while cash buyers will have an added advantage when looking to buy.

Below is a simple example of how the reduced rates would affect someone who has a R2 000 000 home loan over a standard 20 years period:

 

2) How have you adapted/innovated to continue to work during the Lockdown?

Thankfully, most of our operating systems are online and can be accessed from home.

We have however taken this time as an opportunity to enhance our remote-access functionality and put new systems in place that will allow us to work more efficiently and effectively going forward.

We have made great use of “virtual meetings”, social media platforms, and online messaging services to connect with each other and to make sure that we are connecting with all of our clients in order to assist them through this difficult period.

3) Do you foresee any long-term/lasting consequences of the Lockdown on the way the property industry functions?

I do not think there will be long-term or lasting negative consequences on the property market. People will always need somewhere to live, and as the population continues to grow, the value of land and space will continue to rise. Our population is exponentially increasing while land size is fixed, so while property (like all other markets) will go through upward and downward cycles, it will always prove to be a strong long-term investment.

However, I do feel there will be changes as to how traditional Real Estate Agencies function and operate. The current pandemic has forced a lot of us to adapt to new ways of operating, implement new systems and digitize many of our functionalities. – I feel this will assist both buyers, sellers and the agencies themselves in providing an overall better experience for the clients going forward.

4) Give us one positive takeaway that the Lockdown has brought you to realise

An understanding of what is really important. There is a great sense of humanity amongst us, as people, that we often tend to overlook while getting stuck into our everyday lives. Real Estate is an incredibly competitive industry which carries great pressure but also great reward. During this time, those that we are accustomed to competing with daily in the professional environment, have drawn together in so many ways to assist each other through this trying time.

We are all in this together and people are doing incredible things in order to help one another.

 

 

SHELLY KEYS – Pam Golding

1) How have you experienced the Nationwide Lockdown to have impacted the property market? 

Pam Golding Properties have taken the stance that the nationwide lockdown, and Covid-19, is predominantly a humanitarian crisis. Our people, and our clients, have been, and always will be, our first priority. With this in mind, our business has remained open, however just behind closed doors. In this time of crisis, our clients have turned to us for reassurance and support regarding what to expect during, and post, lockdown.  Our agents are key to providing this support and guidance for our sellers.

While online buyer activity dropped in the weeks leading up to lockdown, we have found that there has been a significant increase in buyer viewing activity in the past few weeks. We launched the Pam Golding Properties i-Show, a virtual showday, which allows our buyers to view our Exclusive Mandate properties from the comfort of their armchairs. This is a powerful tool for purchasers to shortlist properties, while we are in lockdown, before viewing and making an offer. Although our sales activity in the past few weeks has naturally slowed, we have in fact been privileged to have concluded several sales. These sales have been across the board, of both top-end and entry-level properties. I feel this is testament to the commitment and expertise of our highly skilled agents, who shine even when the market is tough. 

We have no doubt that the property market, as with all industries in South Africa and in fact globally, will continue to be affected by Covid-19. Our world has changed forever and we are gearing ourselves to be ready for this change.

2) How have you adapted/innovated to continue to work during the Lockdown?

At Pam Golding Properties it has been business as usual, albeit slightly unusual. All of our staff and agents are set up and are able to work remotely. With all the amazing technology at hand we are as connected as before.

Our foremost priority however has been to ensure the health and emotional wellbeing of our team. We have beneficial sessions, aimed at ensuring our wellbeing, which are available through our internal channels. The same focus is given to upskilling our agents and staff with continuous training and peer learning provided by our in-house training academy. The material is invaluable. There is a culture of ongoing learning at Pam Golding Properties and no matter your experience or skill level, there is always something to learn.

Our Head Office has also been instrumental in innovating new products and refining our service offering. This thought leadership is ensuring that we are positioned to be well ahead of the pack as we venture into our new world post lockdown.

 

3) Do you foresee any long-term/lasting consequences of the Lockdown on the way the property industry functions?

I believe the world, and the way businesses transact, has changed forever. Real estate and property professionals are not exempt from this. As tragic as this pandemic is, a crisis brings with it opportunities for change and improvement. As an industry, we will certainly need to adapt. We will need to evolve and embrace the skills required to operate in this new world, and we will need to adopt innovative methods of operation. 

Real estate fulfils a very basic need in society. At the moment we are all home, evaluating our lifestyles, redefining our choices. Whatever our lifestyle choices are I believe home is the new “in”. It is the place where we nurture our families, it is our haven, our protection from the world.

With the recent interest rate cuts the option of homeownership is excitingly becoming a reality for many. We have seen a surge of enquiries from first time homebuyers, and I am delighted that this asset class is available, and affordable, for many at the moment. I dearly hope that we take this opportunity to help rebuild South Africa, to define the social contract and to assist in ensuring the future of all of our people.

 

4) Give us one positive takeaway that the Lockdown has brought you to realise

I have been given the blessing of appreciation and respect and I am grateful for this. I am grateful for the leadership of our country, and of how our President is navigating us through this. I am grateful for the leadership within my company and that of my CEO, Dr Andrew Golding. I am grateful for the support and commitment within my team at Pam Golding Properties Southern Peninsula, Hout Bay and Llandudno. I am grateful for the love and gift of my family and friends. I am grateful for the kindness and generosity that I have seen in our communities. This time has definitely created discomfort. But it is through this that the strongest bonds are forged and the truest characters are revealed. The blessings are endless, and for that I am grateful too.

 

MICHAEL BESTER & ANDREW POOLE – Tyson Properties

1) How have you experienced the Nationwide Lockdown to have impacted the property market? 

It has been a large disruption to Sellers and Buyers in terms of viewings and to Tenants and Landlords given the restriction on movement. For property companies such as ourselves, it has fast tracked innovation in terms of how we market properties during this period and beyond. Without doubt, Tyson has been leading the way in respect of video content and digital media. We recognise that we need to take the online experience to another level as Property Companies will all be playing catch up.

 

2) How have you adapted/innovated to continue to work during the Lockdown?

Planning the online experience and how to get around physical viewings. While 99% of Buyers will not purchase a home unseen, “virtual viewings” and the online exposure can assist in short listing properties.

 

3) Do you foresee any long-term/lasting consequences of the Lockdown on the way the property industry functions?

Yes, adapt or die. Out with the old and in with the new. No technology however can replace the Agent and Client interface.

 

4) Give us one positive takeaway that the Lockdown has brought you to realise

How interconnected and dependent we all are on one another. The Agent, Conveyancer, Deeds Office, SARS and local Municipality. It’s an important chain and connection. And secondly, an appreciation of one’s family, loved ones and friends.

  • On April 29, 2020
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