PROPERTY NEWS - One of the most important parts of the economy, the property market, is feeling the impact of the lockdown. Estate agents in the Garden Route say few transactions have been concluded and buyers and sellers are extremely cautious.
Tim Kirby of Lew Geffen Sotheby's International says over the past 30 years in George he has experienced many ups and downs, but the Covid-19 lockdown is something entirely new. Indicators for the company, from Mossel Bay and George through to Plettenberg Bay, tell the same story.
"Buyers and sellers have become extremely cautious, understandably so, resulting in very limited buying and selling activity. It is too early to assess, in terms of pricing, what impact Covid-19 has had on the real estate industry."
Residential real estate agents are still restricted under the lockdown laws and will remain so until Level 2, but there appears to be discussion at a higher level to have this changed.
Stephen Murray of Pam Golding says it is primarily a humanitarian crisis, which initially moved the focus away from market activity. However, with the passing of time, more people have been making enquiries.
Murray says the exact effects of Covid-19 haven't yet been fully comprehended within the market place, but the economic bailouts or steps taken by the government could negatively affect prices.
"There will not be a 'blanket rule' that can be applied and the specific segment of the market and nuances therein will be the determining factors, which again underscores the importance of the need for an experienced realtor to guide parties during this time," he says.
The greatest immediate concern is to have the deeds offices opened up to allow for the registration of transfer of transactions that were concluded prior to the lockdown.
For others, the sooner the industry starts operating fully again, the better. There is a lead time of registration of transfers to register, so estate agents need to start writing business as soon as possible to avoid facing economical difficulty.
RE/MAX of Southern Africa said in a statement that the lockdown has placed immense pressure on the real estate industry to innovate and find new ways to sell homes without meeting face to face.
Though challenging, real estate agents are still finding digital ways to line up deals from home that can be finalised when the lockdown is lifted.
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