The Atlantic Seaboard in Cape Town (Seeff) ~ Supplied
Cape Town - Seeff Property Services celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year and according to chair Samuel Seeff the property market in SA is "significantly in a better mood" after starting to gain momentum in 2013.
"There has been a shift from no buyers and large stock volumes to stock shortages almost accross the board - even in the sector of R20m plus," said Seeff.
The price band of houses at less than R2m is still about 80% of turnover, while the buyer activity for prices up to R10m has doubled. Yet, he regards the market as still about 20% below what is regarded as the "normal" level of about 30 000 monthly deeds transactions.
According to Seeff the current challenges in the property market include stock shortages in primary areas, which paves the way for prices to start rising. Other challenges include high debt ratios, low economic and job growth, difficulty in obtaining bonds due to banks being willing, but high debt ratios existing, leading to problems with credit worthiness and being able to pay a deposit.
The high interest rate is also regarded as a challenge for the market and he expects even more hikes in future.
There is a stock shortage in this market segment, according to Seeff.
In Cape Town Clifton remains the most expensive suburb with other "contenders" being Bantry Bay, Fresnaye, Camps Bay, the V&A Waterfront, Bishopscourt and Constantia.
In the first six months of 2014 the highest price paid for a property sold by Seeff in Cape Town was R70m.
In Johannesburg Sandhurst is the most expensive suburb with other "contenders" being Westcliff, Hyde Park, Dunkeld and Morningside.
In the first six months of 2014 the highest price paid for a property sold in Johannesburg was R40m.
History of Seeff
It was established by Samuel Seeff's father, the late Geoffrey Seeff in 1964.
The first office was in Wynberg, in Cape Town's Southern Suburbs followed by one in Tamboerskloof.
Today it has more than 1 100 agents and close to 200 offices in Southern Africa - including Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and Mauritius.
In 1984 the first office opened in Gauteng and in 1990 United Bank (later acquired by Barclays Bank) acquired a 25% stake in Seeff.
In 1994 Seeff expanded to KwaZulu-Natal and in 1995 it had an IPO listing on the JSE - the first and only real estate company to be listed on the JSE. In 1996 it was delisted and the Seeff family bought back all the shares in 1999.
Seeff founded bond originator ooba in 1999, opened its first office in Zimbabwe in 2002 and its first office in Botswana in 2004. This was followed by the first office in Mauritius in 2005 and the first office in Namibia in 2009.
In 2010 Seeff's "Smart Academy" gains accreditation, in 2012 the first office in Zambia opens and in 2014 the first office in Swaziland.