From our CEO: The tide is already rising in SA
Category Berry Everitt
This has been a momentous week for South Africa, with the Springboks bringing the Webb Ellis trophy home and both local and international investors committing more than R300bn to the country following President Ramaphosa's second investment conference.
And many commentators have correctly noted that these two events should help us remember that we can succeed as a nation and give both consumer and business confidence the boost that is needed to ramp up the property market and the economy in general.
But what I find interesting is that these two events have actually come at the crest of a surge of positivity that actually started a few months ago and has been largely undimmed by renewed load-shedding, a gloomy Mid-Term Budget review or even Moody's decision to change its outlook on our economic future from stable to negative.
It seems that large numbers of South Africans across the board have just decided, individually or collectively, that they are weary of being in a negative state of mind about the future of the country, or perhaps a state of indecision about whether to emigrate or to commit to building a life here, and that is nowhere more clearly illustrated by the phenomenal growth of the #ImStaying Facebook community to more than 800 000 members in just a few weeks.
For better or worse, we seem to be digging in and making a commitment to stop complaining, start taking charge of our own future, and find practical ways of making it better together.
We have experienced this change of mindset first-hand with home buyers who had been nervous about making a long-term financial commitment to SA now returning to the market in droves. We are seeing bigger attendances at showdays and shorter listing times as a result, and several of our offices achieving record sales.
There has also been a huge jump in new vehicle sales recently (from 45 000 units in August to 52 000 in October), tourist numbers and spending continue to rise, Foreign Direct Investment into SA has been increasing since January and our most recent Treasury Bond was almost three times oversubscribed, thanks to the fact that our interest rates (and thus potential returns for investors) are relatively high in world terms.
In short, I think we are already experiencing a rising tide, because we are already being honest with each other about the challenges we face, and already starting to move past the talk and the blame game and concentrate on getting things done to make a better future for ourselves and our own families, friends and communities.
I also think this kind of resilience and collective belief that we can and will "do it again" is a big part of the continued and rising investor interest in SA, especially from booming Eastern economies such as India, Indonesia, Vietnam and of course China, where people are perhaps more familiar with and less wary of the type of problems we currently have than those in more developed Western countries.
South Africa is of course also uniquely placed as one of the most industrialised and developed countries in Africa to offer investors access to the huge market that has just been created with the conclusion of the Africa Free Trade Agreement. Consumer spend in this market is expected to reach at least $2,5trillion by 2030.
And to start capitalising on this interest, we are sending a delegation to the Shanghai Property Expo next month, specifically to showcase the very best of SA property to the biggest pool of foreign property purchasers in the world.
I'll have more on that soon, but for now, we are equally excited at the progress we are making on our Nomad© project, which is essentially our plan to liberate our sales agents from traditional desks and offices and restricted sales areas, and empower them not only to provide exceptional service in the field, but to surmount all obstacles to building long-term business relationships with all our clients.
Meanwhile as a real estate company known for innovation, we are also currently exploring more non-traditional ways of assisting potential buyers to become homeowners. These include the rent-to-buy and instalment sale options, which are well-tested perfectly safe when properly tailored by property and legal professionals, and could open up the market to many thousands of people who are able to afford a monthly instalment but for various reasons are unable to qualify for a bond.
We believe that in real estate as in every other field, there is always room for positive disruption, and I can't wait to see what happens next...
Author: Meg Wilson