From our CEO: Here's to sagacity
Category Berry Everitt
Sagacity is the word that I think will - or should - apply to all discussions about the SA property market over the next 12 to 18 months, and to all actions that we take in that market.
It is a somewhat old-fashioned but very powerful word that means, among other things, acumen, astuteness, clear-sightedness, discernment and perceptiveness, and I think we will continue to need all of these qualities in real estate in the coming months.
This doesn't mean that I am not optimistic; I am, because as world-renowned financial journalist Richard Quest noted during the recent World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, it is plain to see that SA is full of opportunities in just about every sector of the economy.
In the real estate context, these include the fact that we have a young and rapidly urbanising population in need of millions more decent and affordable homes to own and rent. In addition, we are experiencing low inflation along with relatively low interest rates; the cost of living in SA is low in world terms and our banks are eager to lend to home buyers, investors and developers.
What is more, the government has at least begun the enormous task of cleaning up and addressing the effects of the corruption that occurred during the Zuma administration, and we appear to be on the right track for the economy to slowly recover.
SA is also one of the most favoured emerging markets in a world where international investors are losing faith in the ability of developed economies to deliver satisfactory returns, and there are opportunities galore inherent in the recently concluded African Continent Free Trade Agreement.
However, there are still many hurdles to overcome and it is going to take real sagacity to see past the short-term negative news we encounter every day and take a longer-term view while we keep doing our part to rebuild consumer, business and investor confidence in our economy.
As an industry, we are also going to need sagacity to sort the real property purchase and investment opportunities from the non-starters in the current fluid and uncertain environment, and sagacity to read and assess market demand with sufficient accuracy to retain sellers' trust and help them set asking prices that will ensure swift and successful sales.
Of course it isn't always easy to achieve this state of mind, but with our determination to do so, the Chas Everitt International group achieved an 11% increase in sales last year, and a 37% increase in turnover, despite all the political and economic upheavals that could have thrown us off course. And that to me is real proof that there is value in "keeping your head when all about you are losing theirs", so I wish you a year of sagacity in 2020...
Author: Meg Wilson