Many people have been asking what our impression of the state of things in the South African property and construction industry is. So, here are a couple of thoughts…
- There is an upwards trend in the number of inquiries received regarding alteration-addition type projects, while inquiries for ‘new-builds’ remain low.
- Real estate values are still dormant and owners who bought at inflated prices have realized that to get a return on their money they need to be patient. The next rung of the real estate ladder will have to wait.
- Though spending, the public have adopted a ‘more bang for your buck approach’, meaning suppliers of services and products have to work much harder at securing contracts. Competition is tight and the consumer gets a better product at a better price.
- The recession removed many players in the industry who weren’t delivering satisfactory service, which counts in favor of the consumer. Six years ago clients were waiting in line for their dreams to be realized. Now it’s the other way around.
- Though some banks have started loosening up; loans are still in short supply, and many South Africans are paying cash for renovations, so their projects tend to be smaller and more focused.
Where is the money being spent?
- Outdoor connection. The biggest overall trend is homeowners craving to be connected to the outdoors, via larger windows, decks or porches. Homeowners are indulging the trend to eat local, by creating personal veggie gardens. Theses gardens range from the typical outdoor space to living walls inside apartments and wall mountable systems now particularly popular inside apartments or on balconies.
- Livable kitchens and open floor plans. Still a major priority; the kitchen is the heart of the home and South Africans are living it. Seating at the kitchen counter or island is a prerequisite. Homeowners want kitchens that connect not only to a living room but also to a dining area and the outdoors. “They want more light and openness.”
- Togetherness. With this open-living core, there’s a return to togetherness. Wi-Fi and headphones allow individuals to remain in the same room while doing different activities.
- Home-offices. The advent of smartphones and laptops means that your office can be anywhere, and coupled with the tax benefits working from home has become increasingly popular. Separate entrances are helping smart home-owners to maximize the value of their property while still retaining the boundaries between work and play.
- Optional master baths. “Water footprint”, is part of everyday conversation, and especially in small to medium apartments owners are aiming to decrease theirs and are opting for larger showers and smaller baths or none at all.
- Maximum use of space. Rather than expanding their m2, homeowners are looking to reconfigure existing space to make it work better. Clever uses of shelving and storage are where the priority lies. Staircases and bookshelves have become synonymous.
- Rental income. Garden cottages, basement spaces, lofts no longer house forgotten relics and records. With residential letting options still at severe shortage, these spaces are being cleaned up, cleared out and put up for rent. Dry walls at strategic locations are helping owners not merely manage their bond but actually turn a profit.
- Energy efficiency. The general public is more conscious of the environment and their effect on it. The main target being alternatively sourced water heating either through solar or heat pumps.
These are our thoughts and impressions about Cape Town and will not necessarily apply to your situation. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.