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Pillars of Justice

The ever-changing landscape of South African real estate

In the ever-changing landscape of South African real estate, it's crucial for both homebuyers and sellers to adapt to the prolonged presence of higher interest rates. Experts are signaling that these elevated rates are here to stay, requiring adjustments from both sides of the property transaction.

Economists and analysts foresee the South African Reserve Bank maintaining the repo rate at 8.25% in November, possibly even leaning towards another increase. This paints a picture of interest rates remaining restrictive, with any potential cuts not anticipated until mid-2024.

Seeff Property Group advises home sellers to reassess their asking prices in light of this new reality, aligning them with the longer-term outlook. On the flip side, homebuyers are urged to either accommodate higher repayments or consider properties with a slightly lower price tag to create a financial buffer.

Despite the challenging circumstances, Samuel Seeff, Chairman of Seeff Property Group, highlights that banks are still offering favorable terms for qualifying buyers. To weather the storm, households grappling with high interest rates are encouraged to review and adjust their monthly budgets. This includes scrutinizing expenses, cutting unnecessary subscriptions, and seeking cheaper insurance premiums.

Seeff emphasizes the importance of reducing debts, advising individuals to allocate extra funds towards repayment, focusing on high-interest debts first. Exploring surplus funds in mortgage loans or considering refinancing through a new bond registration based on the property's latest value are also suggested strategies by experts like ooba.

For those facing financial challenges, Seeff recommends proactive measures such as arranging new payment plans and avoiding the wait-and-see approach, as delays may exacerbate the situation. Homeowners struggling with mortgage repayments are urged to contact their mortgage banks promptly to explore alternative arrangements.

In cases where urgent financial reasons prompt a sale, sellers are advised to be transparent with agents. Exploring options like downsizing to a more manageable property is also presented as a viable solution, offering a potential boost to both lifestyle and available funds. In navigating this new reality, open communication and strategic financial decisions are key for both buyers and sellers in the South African property market.

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