Property expert dismisses market perceptions

Two current property perceptions being spawned by some Centurion sellers have come under fire by a leading local real estate practitioner.

The first is that of the market being depressed while the second is that selling “privately” could achieve a higher-than-market related price.

But Noeline McComb, co-principal of Realty 1 International Property Group in Centurion, claims neither of these beliefs lacks great substance .

“The truth”, she claimed in a recent interview, “is that the market is still humming, properties are still selling, and buyers are still getting bonds even if the process is taking a little longer owing to the new credit legislation.”
“However, the deals are happening - in situations where properties are priced correctly and marketed by agents who know the area well and can negotiate the current market conditions.”

Acknowledging that pricing can be a prickly issue and absolute key between the deal being closed, McComb says that sellers must shift their mindset from earlier market of sellers seeking above value and standing a reasonable chance of getting their price. “Not now, though….times have changed and properties that are selling within 10 to 15 days are those priced in accordance with buyers perceived, and often very firm values of what they prepared to pay. Some she warns are absolutely rigid in their view on values, adding that her company has not experienced pricing dips below genuine current market value.

The second misconception, and this is a factor encouraged bya price stabilizing market, is that sellers believe they can realize a higher price by selling privately. “But buyers,” she insists where through an agent or a legal contract between the parties drawn up by an independent legal party, are only paying market-related prices. “

Further, she warns, private sellers who blazen their status on boards outside their homes stand can expose themselves to becoming victims of crime. “There’s a proliferation of con artists who are gaining access to people’s homes under the pretext of being buyers. A few days later, their homes are burgled by people who were obviously familiar with the layout and the location of their valuables. An experienced agent should know how to identify genuine buyers and separate them from people pursuing other agendas.”

“The country’s high crime level makes people very vulnerable to attack, hence our decision to provide all our agents with panic buttons linked to armed response companies when they are on show.”

The Centurion market in general she reports as “healthy.” Long a feature of the local landscape, townhouse complexes remain popular among investors and young couples often competing for units up to R600 000. Currently, the entry level price for a single bedroom, one bathroom stack unit above ground floor is around R450 000. More expensive but more popular are two bedroom townhouses which start from R550 000.

At the upper end of this spectrum is the security estate, where units range on average from R2 million to R6 million, bought and sold predominantly by residents who are either upgrading or down-sizing. Among the most popular of these estates are Cornwall Hill, Centurion Golf Estate and Midstream Estate all of which offer high levels of perimeter and access control security.

“Estate living has become so popular that it has become a market on its own,” says McComb, whose company now has a separate division with specialist agents who work only on security estates.

In central Centurion, freestanding houses are also selling well, with most take-up in the R950 000 to R1, 9 million price range. Beyond the R2 million mark, though, market activity is much slower.

With little vacant land left in the central area, new development is being pushed westwards to such a degree that she believes it’s only a matter of time before Centurion and Midrand meet up. This trend is already evident by the siting of developments such as Midstream, which lies on the outskirts of Centurion literally on the road to Midrand and a 10 minute drive outside of peak traffic time.