WORDS: JO MORREIRA IMAGES: SUPPLIED & SHUTTERSTOCK
We’re waiting with bated breath to be given clarification as to when we as the real estate industry can start working again. Webinars, Zoom conferences, digital platforms, Facebook, LinkedIn and of course Sunday Times Neighbourhood have kept us in the loop and motivated.
During lockdown we’ve had the time and chance to reflect on at least the last decade of real estate in the country. 2019 and 2020 have been the most difficult and challenging that I’ve experienced. Having been an agent for nineteen years and now a principal of Blue Living Properties for the past nine years, the ride has been tumultuous.
The 2007 worldwide financial crash in the markets, the change in South Africa’s political leaders, the state capture and now Covid-19 have taken us all by storm. These have had huge repercussions on the real estate industry, and the path ahead of us remains unclear.
The silver lining has been the cumulative interest rate cuts this year of 2.25% in 2020 to take us down to 7.75% on our bond repayments, providing some relief and excitement for prospective buyers and, of course, to existing bond holders too.
Initially it was interpreted that we would be classified as level 4 along with the Deeds Office and the EAAB and we also presumed with pride that we’re recognised as professional services, but sadly we have been relegated to level 2.
Understandably, we’re a sector that’s required to meet clients face to face and take them to properties where sellers and landlords are undoubtably nervous and sceptical of welcoming strangers into their safe space, their homes. Hopefully, the time we’ve had to reflect on the seriousness of this global pandemic will keep us all aware of the importance of social distancing.
A great deal has been communicated by CEOs of the large real estate companies, to Government, stating the ramifications of not being allowed to start at level 4. These statements and articles are based on statistics gleaned from financial institutions, past trends and worldwide predictions.
We would be delighted and relieved to join the EAAB, Deeds Office, mortgage originators and financial institutions on 4 May. This will not only assist the agents who are commission earners but the real estate staff, the sellers, landlords and of course SARS. It will hopefully bring back some liquidity into the property markets.
All this being said, we’re now as an industry ready and raring to don our masks, gloves and makeup and face the outside world excited to show our clients their new homes, and support those wanting to move, upsize or downsize.
Let’s see what the next few weeks hold for us as an industry, but more importantly as a country, as we remain united to protect our citizens and the future of South Africa.
Jo Morreira is founder and principle of Blue Living Properties, Birdhaven, Joburg.
As an industry, we are ready and raring to don our masks, gloves and makeup and face the outside world, excited to show our clients their new homes