There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has hastened (if not caused) a definite change in the way people relate to property.
With many employees working from home, there has been a trend in businesses scaling back on office space. The other side of this coin, no doubt, is that the demand for “work-from-home space” has become more prevalent than ever before, and has surely motivated people to consider their residential space with this in mind. Inner-city conversions of office and commercial space to residential apartments were taking place well before the pandemic hit, and are sure to continue as a consequence.
Remote working opportunities may also motivate people to move further away from urban centres, as there is less need to commute on a daily basis.
Internet and cellular communication have increased dramatically during this period, facilitating online activities which prior to the pandemic may have been conducted in person. Consumers are spending less time in stores and shopping malls and more time shopping online, which has reduced the demand for retail space, and increased the demand for warehousing and distribution centres used by online retailers.
Technology has also played an increasing role in property transactions as a result of the pandemic. Prospective purchasers are purchasing property viewed on internet property sites, rather than viewing the property in person.
Residential property prices and rentals have been under pressure and this, coupled with low mortgage bond interest rates, has enabled more purchasers or lessees to enter the market. Sellers are also reassessing their needs: upscaling in order to facilitate a shift to working from home or downscaling to reduce monthly costs.
Since 1 June 2020 there has been an upswing in activity in the property market and the volume of new mortgage bond applications has increased substantially beyond pre lockdown levels across the price spectrum. Buyer interest has also surpassed levels seen in early 2020. Cheaper finance is providing more opportunities for first-time buyers to buy their first home, and to buy more expensive homes. It is expected that these low interest rates will remain for the foreseeable future. Tenants are also taking advantage of the low interest rates and are now buying their own homes rather than paying rent.
What is certain in this time of uncertainty is that the property market will need to adapt to the speed with which technology is developing. Businesses will need to be flexible and continually evolve to meet the environmental, social, technological, economic and political trends unfolding.
Conveyancer & Notary