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Western Cape Dominates the South African Buy-to-Let Property Market Amid National Surge

Published February 29, 2024
4 months ago

A recent upsurge in the South African property market has been spearheaded by the Western Cape, where buy-to-let (BTL) investments have reached new heights. Ooba, a prominent home loan company, has revealed that applications for investment property finance across the nation have hit a 15-year peak. Significantly outpacing typical figures of 4-5%, investment property finance applications have erupted to a staggering 11.8% of total national applications, signaling an enthusiastic drive towards property investment.


The Western Cape is leading this charge vigorously, with data showcasing a remarkable 28% of home loans in the province being inked for investment properties. This regional fervor underscores the broader trend, as nearly one-third of all home loan applications in the area are linked to investment intentions.


Renier Kriek, Managing Director of Sentinel Homes, has suggested that the exuberant figures might be exaggerated by the current reticence among regular home buyers, with the looming election and economic challenges instilling a sense of caution. Despite this, Kriek acknowledges a robust sentiment among property investors who remain dauntless in the face of rising living costs and interest rates. Their ongoing participation stands testament to the perceived security of property investment in tumultuous political and economic times.


Two prominent drivers for the real estate upturn have been identified. First is the persistent pattern of semigration within South Africa, with citizens relocating to provinces boasting superior infrastructure and governance, most notably the Western Cape. This has spiked demand for rental housing, as newcomers often choose to rent either while house-hunting or awaiting the construction of their new dwellings.


A second boost to the sector comes from the revival of tourism in locales such as Cape Town, a perennial global hotspot. This has ignited interest in prime estate acquisitions for short-term lets and vacation rentals, fuelled further by rental market resilience including low vacancy rates and decrement in tenant defaults.


However, Gauteng paints a different picture. Despite comprising the lion's share of residential property with 35%, the province faces migration outflows and a rental market beset by higher vacancies and defaults than the national and Western Cape benchmarks, as per Kriek's insights shared with Moneyweb.


Nonetheless, Kriek remains bullish concerning the residential property market's broader allure, marked by latent demand and the assiduous search for value by knowledgeable investors and typical buyers. He prognosticates that the Western Cape, in particular, may experience a significant uptick in property values post election, when a potential interest rate reduction could release the current dam of pent-up demand.


Succinctly put, the Western Cape is a vibrant hotspot in the South African BTL property landscape, with its resilience attracting investor confidence amidst broader national economic hesitations. The prevailing market conditions suggest a potent mix of challenge and opportunity, with savvy investors poised to capitalize on the current climate.



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