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Investors are snapping up prime properties in the Western Cape 

There is a major surge in investment in buy-to-let properties across South Africa, with the Western Cape leading the pack.

“We’re seeing a 15 year high in national investment applications, which rose to 11,8% of all applications by the last quarter of 2023,” says Renier Kriek, MD at Sentinel Homes.

A recent ooba Home Loans market data which also puts investment applications in the Western Cape at a whopping 28,2% of total applications. 

“The housing demand in the province is enormous and property investors are obviously taking note,” says Kriek.

Investors, not home buyers
Home buyers are hesitant to buy right now due to uncertainty around the upcoming election, as well as the rising cost of living caused by inflation and high interest rates. This could mean current data may be skewed by their lower participation, making investment applications appear greater as a percentage.

Even so, it also indicates that property investors remain confident, active in the market, and resilient regardless of economic pressures. Property investment may also be seen as more secure in the current uncertain political climate.

Why is property investment vibrant?
One reason is the ongoing trend of semigration, with South Africans flocking to areas offering better infrastructure and service delivery. This is especially true of the Western Cape where new property development lags the influx of semigrants. Many coming to the province now rent while searching for a new home or while theirs is being built.

Another reason is the return of tourists to Cape Town, still one of the top holiday destinations in the world. Investors are already snapping up prime properties they can rent out as short-term leases and holiday accommodations.

The increased demand for rentals and improving performance in rental properties, including lower vacancies and tenant defaults, is driving the wave of buy-to-let investment applications.

Tips for investors
So, if people are serious about investment buying, does Sentinel Homes have any tips for them? “Indeed, we do,” says Kriek.

  • Tip one: Buy-to-let. When investing, always remember that the meat and potatoes of property is rental income, whether from long-term or short-term leases. Buying for speculative purposes, like fixing and flipping for a quick profit, is highly risky in a market where property prices outpace inflation and transaction costs can be excessive. 

So research a property’s income potential and marketability first, then build a solid buy-to-let base first.

  • Tip two: Consider rent-to-rent. Rent-to-rent means an investor rents a property, then sublets it to a third party at a profit. This is an excellent way to get into serious property investment without having to source capital for an outright purchase. 

You can use these profits to build capital and a strong property portfolio over time. Since some landlords prohibit subletting, find one that is flexible and negotiate your contract carefully.

  • Tip three: Get market insights. Investors need good market statistics to make the best buying decisions. Properties are often priced above a fair valuation, which is why we have price inflaton over time. Negotiating a sale below the asking price doesn’t necessarily mean you have bought a bargain – you may still be overpaying. 

While there are many good sources of data in the market, hiring a registered property valuer is also an excellent option. This can help you negotiate a fair price that will see you profit more when you eventually sell the property. 

Also, find out what a capitalization rate is, and use it in all your price assessments and lead follow-ups.

  • Tip four: Property investment is a business. Lastly, see property investment as a business and run it as one, not a hobby. It demands strategic thinking, accounting, tax advice, professional management, research and more. 

“Every time I’ve seen a person make a blunder in property investment, it was because they didn’t manage their portfolio like a business,” says Kriek.

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